Saturday, May 31, 2014

Letting go

     On Thursday, the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord in our diocese, I celebrated three Masses, and even though the readings were the same at each, each homily was different - variations on the theme.   The smaller morning Mass focused upon the experience of losing one who has been intimately intertwined in your life.  How often I have found the family say that the one that they loved is still very much a part of their life - not only in memories but in practical and life giving ways.  Their legacy lives on, their spirit is alive and their presence is felt through the lives that they have touched.

     At the afternoon school Mass I focused upon moving forward but of leaving a part of oneself behind.  Graduating, or moving to another level, or changing schools, or retiring brings about absence but allows for a sense of remaining and belonging.  A number of our school graduates of last Wednesday, and a number of past alumni who were already out of high school for the year or home from college were present for this Mass.  I pointed out that even though they had left the school, that they are still a part of the school, as evidenced by their desire to come home.  I pointed out that our Principal, who has taught and lead the school for many years and who is retiring, will always be a part of the school family and ever present in her example and spirit.

     At the evening Mass I spoke of preparing the way, of clearing the path, of preparing a place for our arrival and of letting go.  Sometimes we need to go out on our own, to take the first step, to stand on our own.  There is a commercial of a parent holding onto their child's bike and getting them going on their first bike ride.  Then they let go, and the child goes on by themselves (the parent every watchful and vigilant).  When the realization sets in that they can do this, there is much rejoicing - the parent knew that it could be done, the child realizes that it was done.  There comes a time when the mother bird, who has nurtured and watched over and protected her young, forces them to the edge and then out of the nest, so that they may realize that to fly is their destiny and within their capability.  Otherwise, they would simply remain in the security of the nest.

     All of this is simply to say that the Lord had to take his leave, not to abandon us but to take his rightful place beside the Father, taking delight in our accomplishments, strengthening us with his Spirit, and welcoming us to the place of the Divine.  The ascension of the Lord was necessary for Him, but more necessary for us.

Yesterday was my birthday.
Sixty-seven years ago I came into this world.
Mom and Dad gave me life and their love.
Janie, my sister and friend, continues to do so.
Yesterday was quiet and relaxing.
I heard from many friends and family and parishioners,
and was blessed by their love and support.
I even spoke to my cousin Joy from Costa Rica
and her daughter Jenifer.
The greatest gift, though, is the love of God,
and the gift of ministry in the priesthood.
Thank you, Lord!

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