May 4, 2008
Theme: Ascension: Transcending Loneliness by Embracing God's Real Presence
Our human nature detests loneliness. We detest being deserted by others, especially, by those close to our heart. Social impressions impinge upon our minds that loneliness is a disease. So now, let us consider the following scenarios: A mother with children still feels lonely and alone in her home. Society does not understand her fears, her struggles, and her upsetting moments. People compliment her as a good mother. Her husband showers her with flowers, and yet she still lives under the impression that no one really notices how tired she is. Talking to her mother does not help because her mother says, it will all come to pass.
Similarly, a husband may feel overwhelmed with his responsibilities in providing food, clothing and shelter for his home and family. Being overwhelmed, he feels it is not his right to burden his wife. Why? It may be simply because she too, cannot fully grasp his fears. Like the wife talking to her mother, the husband may talk to his father and friends only to be greeted with a barrage of quick-fix answers without solutions to his particular situation. He feels alone and lost.
Children between 1 and 3 years of age climb into their mothers bed and fasten themselves to the stomach as if to re-enter into their moms belly again. These children act in this manner simply because apart from psychologically bonding with their mother, they cannot bear being left alone. As teenagers and adolescents enter into adulthood and maturity, they face rejection, failure and defeat at home and in the community. They are overwhelmed by a feeling of being alone. They seem frightened, agonizing that not even mom or dad appreciates or understands them.
Even as adults, married or living a single life, as widows and widowers, as incapacitated by a terminal illness that has reduced us to a hospital bed or a wheelchair, as Christians and believers including the most prayerful and holy individuals among us we are all afraid of loneliness. We are afraid of dying alone plain and simple! We are afraid especially of the unknown about life after death.
Jesus knew and knows it is difficult to part away from loved ones. Jesus knew that it is not easy to say good-bye to dear ones. Thus, he promised the disciples his friends and us that he would not leave us orphaned [cf. Jn. 14:18]; that he would send us another advocate to be with us [cf. Jn. 14:16]. Jesus knew it hurt to be alone and deserted by all; to be denied by the presence of loved ones or those who care, and so while dying on the Cross, Jesus cried out for Gods Presence in a loud voice, Eloi! Eloi! lama sabachthani My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? [cf. Mk. 16:34].
Therefore, Jesus ascension narratives depict Gods answer to loneliness. It affords us the opportunity to transcend loneliness through the Spirit that Jesus would send to enable us reclaim Gods Presence in our life. In these narratives, Jesus assures us that we can transform the self so that God may put all things under our feet; and again, as Jesus, we too, by Gods grace, might make all things possible for others. Jesus came to make all things possible for us who believe. We can also make all things possible for those in dire need of our assistance. We may wonder where we should go in order for us to transcend our loneliness. We may ask, Do we have to follow the message of Mary Magdalene and be on the road to Galilee? Should we travel to Mount Sinai as when Moses received The Dacalogue The Ten Words, The Ten Commandments? Should we set foot on Mount Horeb as did Elijah?
No, we do not have
to do any of these, for back then with the disciples and with us today,
Jesus gave us an assuring comfort to know that he is with us always
until the end of time [cf. Matt. 28:20]. May our faith and belief
in this Eucharist encourage us to go out into the whole world as
proclaimers [cf. Mk. 16:15] and witnesses to Jesus mission
of love and friendship to every person at every corner of the earth
[cf. Acts 1:8]. Let us depend upon Gods own grace now, so that we
may transcend loneliness and replace it with Gods own Presence!