Sunday, May 17, 2020

+ 6th Sunday of Easter A +

“I will not leave you orphans.” Sin begins when the serpent convinces Adam and Eve they are orphans, victims of a hoax, hood-winked by fake news, who have to take what they are entitled to.

Their children become isolated competitors bent on winning. Power, money, and prestige give the illusion of total self-sufficiency.

They claim that all I only owe you is as little cooperation as needed to maintain my rights, my private, personal choice—nothing to do with the common good or self-gift. Let the market decide.

Anything else is socialism, unless my group is benefiting. On the far right, its guns. On the far left, its abortion. We even process information as a private, personal choice. Isaac Asimov:

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

We have no idea of how our individualism affects others here and around the world. Simone Weil:

Human beings are so made that the ones who do the crushing feel nothing; it is the person crushed who feels what is happening. Unless one has placed oneself on the side of the oppressed, to feel with them, one cannot understand.[1]

Jesus contradicts all of this. The new Adam stands with the oppressed and becomes one of the crushed because he trusts God to give him life, to give him all he needs.

We are not orphans. The first born from the dead draws us by adoption to become beloved, adult children of the Father, who places us with his Son, and calls us to share his life and his labors.

By the way, that’s just what the picture above the altar is all about—not just for St. Ignatius but for all of us.

There is much to be done, work that requires our intelligence, our creativity, our passion. Science. Scholarship. The humility to learn.

Knowing and loving Jesus Christ, loving one another as he loved us, we share the inner life of God, we are related to one another, we hand on life and create community—we accept the mission to create a just and compassionate society.

Becoming a mature Christian—a made member of the family, as it were—is an urgent matter; it is imperative.

It requires a willingness to be inspired, to be empowered, to be given insight. It requires asking to know the imperatives implicit in what we are going through now, with and for the persons around us.

I witness to who I am in the world by my actions. More than sentiment, love is fact based, anongoing, passionate exercise of the will—judging, deciding, and acting—in specific situations.

This time I let go of my plans. Another time I won’t be turned away from what needs to be done. Another time I speak my mind. On still another, I just stay with you and listen.

If we follow Christ, the Holy Spirit will strengthen, instruct, and comfort us. We will have the courage and the wisdom to live lives of integrity, discernment, and service.   That’s how we get through a pandemic!

“I will not leave you orphaned…Come Holy Spirit.”

[1] Lectures on Philosophy. Quoted in “The Living Pulpit,” April/June 1996. p. 32.

 

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