not up there but down here

May 23, 2012

It has been a pleasure to arrive back in the parishes of the Hurunui district after the Holy Land pilgrimage days.

Tonight I celebrated Mass for the people of the Scargill / Greta Valley area in the home of parishioners. 

In the moments of silent reflection after communion, as we basked in the reality of Jesus presence with us in the Eucharist, my mind wandered back to last week’s celebration of the Mass…
  • on  the shores of the Sea of Galilee
  • in the garden of Gethsemane
  • at the first Station of Jesus’ Way of the Cross
  • at the Church of Peter’s denial of Jesus
  • in the Basilica of the Annunciation Nazareth
  • in a cave-chapel of the shepherd’s fields, Bethlehem
…to name just a few significant points on our pilgrimage journey.

The holy places I have listed above seem in some ways a world away from the nine little communities of the Hurunui, and the Chatham Islands.

Last Sunday we celebrated the feast of the Ascension. The angel said to the disciples: ‘why do you stand here gazing up into the sky’…

How often we fall into thinking that we need to be somewhere or someone else if we are to really be with God. Perhaps a trip to the Holy Land will bring me closer to Jesus? Maybe when I overcome this sin I will feel the presence of God? 

Such thinking is a serious obstacle to our recognition of God-with-us.  

Our task is to allow God to come to us where we are, not to seek God where we are not.  We are here gazing up into the sky, and the angel tells the disciples that Jesus will meet them not up there, but down here, on earth, in the midst of today’s geography, climate, sufferings, anxieties and moods.

If you ever get a chance to visit Israel, jump at the opportunity. But keep in mind that if you really want to meet Jesus, the place where you walk and talk, weep and toil today, is the holy land where God is waiting for you.




1 Comment

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts

Ascension

Ascension

Most people think of the Ascension of Jesus as being a ‘departure’ moment. Jesus was here and now he is gone. We imagine Jesus going up into the clouds and the disciples waving farewell from below.
This is an unhelpful image.
It is essential that we understand what does happen and what does not happen in the Ascension event.
It would be easy to wrongly think that in his ministry showed us how to build the city of God on earth, and now he has gone and the mission is left to us.

touching the sacred

touching the sacred

A few years ago I was on Rēkohu Chatham Islands for what has become one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most sacred days, the ANZAC day of remembrance in gratitude for those who gave their lives, their health, their youth, their service that we may live in peace.
The art above was produced by one of the students at the local Te One school.

every which way

every which way

A good number of Food For Faith readers have discovered one of the more recent FFF initiatives, the weekly Homily Studio.
The recording of this half-hour podcast is one of the highlights of my week.

in the room

in the room

Today’s reflection marks the end of the FFF Lent-to-Easter daily email posts. Thank you for your company on this journey.  While these daily posts (for those who have signed up for the Lent / Advent reflections at this link) will take a break until Advent, those who have signed up to receive every post or regular posts at this link.  You might take a moment now to visit this page now to check your email preferences.

During retreat this week I found myself pondering just how difficult it is to accept that God, in Jesus, is really with me today.

disciplined discipleship

disciplined discipleship

As I write I’m nearing the end of retreat days with a group of fifty priests from across the USA.  As I mentioned a couple of days ago the diversity and youth of the group is remarkable with the majority being aged under 40 and a good number ordained for fewer than five years.