27 May Monday
Memorial Day and a remembrance of those who died in battle; our society has made it to include all the dead, which has always seemed to me to distract from the specific and deliberate honoring of those who sacrificed for our country.
Jesus, once dead and buried, now completes the next aspect of the paschal mystery, the Ascension, returning to the Father so that he should come back again. Like ourselves the apostles grieved the loss of their teacher and friend, but here in this event is both promised and commission. As Luke tells it, the emphasis is on evangelization. The apostles are sent to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Witness to this repentance is given by the new life style of the apostolic community. Herein, reconciliation and “caritas” conforms all actions among them to Christ. The word “μετανοια”, usually translated on “conversion” is here given as “repentance.” This is a key concept word in the gospels. I signifies a complete reversal (a favorite theme in Luke) of the status quo into something entirely new. This newness was one of the most attractive things about the small apostolic community to many.
It is easy for us in parish life to look more like our culture than the reign of God, and we readily accept “business as usual.” In this time of major generational shift, moral collapse, and shattered world, parishes cannot afford “business as usual” much longer.