Ascension Sunday, 2018
Seeing things in our lives beyond the three dimensions that are natural to us takes practice. When I was in the seminary we were periodically asked to lector in the abbey church on Sunday. No problem, I thought: I have done this for years. Perhaps I was overconfident, but who knew what disasters awaited? We seminarians sat a long way from the ambo, and in between our seats and that podium was a very long row of Monks on both sides, watching and listening! I began to walk the gauntlet that fated Sunday morning. And then the worst possible thing happened.
It was horrible. It was ugly. It was embarrassing. Everyone talked about it. What was the problem? Squeaky shoes: horrible, new, squeaky shoes, echoing in the silence and perfect acoustics of the abbey on that long walk. Brrrack! Brracck! Finally, I made it up there and delivered the reading. Ah, but now we confronted problem number two: how to get back? I think I must have looked like twinkle-toes, walking like a ballet dancer in a vain attempt to stifle a repeat concert of squeaks.
When it was over I was so mad at God! But looking back at it, the moment, and the embarrassment passed. I grew in humility. The world did not come to an end. To me, this was a humiliating disaster. From God’s point of view, it was a learning experience. And no one remembers this but me anyway.
I know that is a trivial incident in the grand scheme of things, but don’t we all find ourselves in situations wearing the equivalent of squeaky shoes, when it seems like everyone is looking severely upon all we do? God wants to shine the light of his perspective on everything. If you are in a squeaky shoes situation at the moment, is there another point of view? Not by looking up at the clouds; not by looking down. Don’t look up! Don’t look down! Look to Jesus. We invite Jesus and his Holy Spirit, whom he promised us, to the table, and the church and her guidance that he promised to be with us until the end of time.
People see Jesus every day. They just don’t recognize him. This is because we are not allowing the Holy Spirit to inform our choices and our vision; but if we use his glasses, we can see beyond the three dimensions of everyday existence and God will begin to show us the connections and solutions to our problems, the reasons we suffer and what to do about it. He didn’t ascend to abandon us, but so that he could give us his heavenly vision from “up there.” But we see this by living our lives as Christ wishes them to be lived.
Do I invite the Holy Spirit into my decisions, my problems? He is waiting to give you a new perspective on everything. Don’t look up! Don’t look down! Instead, look to Jesus and his Church, and he will guide you to see your problems and challenges in a new way. He will give you his divine perspective on squeaky shoes and everything else.