Message From the Pastor
Message From the Pastor
In the first stanza of Thomas H. Troeger’s hymn, “Why Stare at Heaven’s Distant Blue”, the author writes:
“Why stare at heaven’s distant blue
when Christ has told you what to do?
Your gaze won’t draw the clouds back down
that rose with glory from the ground.
Your Lord now reigns in realms above.
Await God’s wind and show God’s love.”
I used to believe that travel to and from the place of vacation was not vacation. And yet, I remember those years I taught at Santa Clara University when, on spring break I would drive from Santa Clara to Montecito on Highway 101. With some regularity, as I was driving through the Gilroy area, I would see these colorful hot air balloons lifting off the ground higher and higher into the sky. And as I watched them, my shoulders began to relax, and I could feel myself taking in and slowly letting out deep breaths. I realize now that those drives to and from Montecito were important parts of my spring breaks.
We have been sheltering-in-place for over two months and many of us are getting antsy. We are experiencing different forms of cabin fever. That is thoroughly understandable. Some of our number have even decided to defy the Governor’s mandate to avoid public gatherings as a way to assert their individual rights. That is thoroughly irresponsible. These people should have been taught better. They are part of an entitled generation. They have somehow forgotten that the safety of the community always outweighs anybody’s individual right.
I realized, the other day, that I have been figuratively and literally holding my breath waiting for this pandemic to play itself out. Unfortunately, I wasn’t consulted on this virus’ timetable. Harrumph! But we all better get used to the fact that we won’t be going back to things the way they were. Cue Barbara Streisand singing “Memories”. What we will need to prepare for is a new normal. Even when it is safe to gather for worship, we will be maintaining social distancing in order to promote and ensure the safety of those gathering. So, stop holding your breath, and prepare yourselves for the new normal. This is how we will “await God’s wind and show God’s love.”
This week, in Maria Shriver’s weekly essay from I’ve Been Thinking, she suggested something that I think is an appropriate Ascension activity. She and a friend were walking when they ran into two other friends. One of the guys asked this question: “What are your three wishes for our country and our world right now?” Her friend Simon responded in this way, “One, that we become better listeners in business, in politics, and in our homes. Two, that we commit to service, and that people start to do more for others, with no expectation of anything in return. Three, that we commit to human relationships, that family dinners become important again, and that we spend more time with our friends — without our phones present. I hope the balance of how we communicate tips away from typing and back in favor of talking.” Then he added another wish. “Four, that America leads again with virtue and values, not might and money.”
I would like to ask our 8th grade graduates what their three wishes would be. I would like to ask each of you what your three wishes would be. This is how God’s Wind — the Spirit — works in us. This is how we pay attention to the deepest desires that God places in our hearts. This is how we show God’s love. And those wishes are realizable. As St. Paul reminded the community at Ephesus, “Glory be to him whose power (Spirit) working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.” So, my friends, on this Ascension Sunday, what are your three wishes for our country and our world?
Fr. Mike Moynahan, S.J.