Ascension Sunday reminds us that our mission is two-fold
by Sister Agnes Fischer
The mission of the Domestic Church is the same as that of the Universal Church, only in a minor scale: "Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teach them to obey all I have taught you.”
We are pretty good about the first part, but how are we doing on the second? After the Baptism party:
- How do we show our children what forgiveness means especially these days when we are with them all day long?
- How do we teach them to serve God and their stay-at-home neighbor?
- Are we their first catechists and now their tutors?
- Do they get their understanding of God’s love from our actions?
Ascension Sunday is a day to remember the part of the Church’s mission that is confided to us, the Domestic Church, the family. If we don’t do it, who will?
"Teach them what I have taught you." [Matt. 28:20] One of the teachings of JESUS that I am all the more consciously aware of is found in Luke 11:46 and Matthew 23:4. JESUS does not hold back from making clear the hypocrisy of "laying heavy burdens on others, while not lifting a finger to help them." Parents, children, families are burdened with extreme stressors these days. There are ways we can each be more of a listening ear, an understanding heart, and a supportive presence. As GraMa, purchasing a favorite family meal on-line for delivery or pick-up for them is a real treat for parents and kids alike these days. And it lets them know how much I care about them and their well-being.
Paying attention to how COVID-19 is affecting poor and minority populations is also paramount in following this teaching of JESUS. The Navajo of the Western states are being especially crushed. The African American population, too, are suffering more than the White population. Latinos and migrant workers, too, bear an egregious burden no one should have to bear. It's heartless and cruel for a government to ignore these serious, blatant inequities.
Heartless and cruel, too, are demanding and forcing the 'lower class' to continue working in cramped, unsafe conditions, such as poultry and meat-processing plants. Not paying 'essential workers' like grocery or retail check-outs a wage that honors them as 'essential,' while their corporate CEO's grow excessively wealthy, is another example of NOT living this teaching of JESUS. I heard an African American spiritual leader comment that calling 'lower class' and minorities 'essential workers,' and then treating them as if they are expendable and easily replaceable, is akin to slavery.
To live in a land that "practices the teachings of JESUS ......." Ahhhhh ..... wouldn't that be 'close to' the 'kingdom of heaven?'
If we, like the first listening students of JESUS, collected ourselves to inquire:
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore ....., " [Acts 1:6) what is it, we would be asking him and wanting him to 'restore?' In us, personally? Within and among our families, our community? As a society? As a People?