As the flames leapt into the sky and smoke billowed out of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris people stood looking on in shock, disbelief and grief.

Something of the story of this significant and historic building was changing. The response from around the world is extremely generous. The Yellow Vests have been demonstrating sometimes peacefully and other times violently to draw attention to their low wages and struggle to live an acceptable standard of living. What happened to their actions and voices?

Would it be fair to say that the latest bombings and subsequent killings creating fear and chaos in Sri Lanka were incited by warped Idealism?

The incarceration of Cardinal Pell and other Clerics has disturbed the foundations of our Australian Church. What needs to change? If we want changes what role am I prepared to take on?  How do I advocate for change in a way that is non-violent and respectful of the rights and views of others?

The story of the Ascension left the disciples standing looking on in confusion and possibly grief if not disbelief. Donal Nearly sj writes:

The feast of the Ascension seems to be more about the apostles going out than Jesus going up! … We are to share what we have received, speak of what we have seen and heard. Donal Nearly sj

How can we as mature, educated adults respond as they did?

From a Sacred Space Reading; “Heaven is not a place at all. It is our definitive relationship with God, just as hell is the eternal severing of that relationship. ‘Heaven’ is where God is; and to be with God is to be ‘in heaven’”

Jesus gave the disciples their mission to go out beyond the familiar and comfortable to other spaces where there is difference and challenge. Is it time now for the laity to break out of a passive state induced by our acceptance of rule by clericalism in an institutional Church that is crumbling?

Is it a time for healing, compassion, gentleness and tenderness as the Pope continues to appeal to us?

Richard Rohr in a reflection on the Ascension speaks of the nine days after the Ascension. Nine days of space and of absence, that ‘alone’ time, allowing the divine Spirit within room to stretch and act.

No longer alone, the gifts of the Divine Spirit enable the action that is needed to bring about harmony, healing and wholeness.  It requires a taking of personal responsibility for bringing this about, as it took the courage of the disciples to spread the Good News, the voices of the Yellow Shirts to speak up for the poor, the courage of a 15-year-old Greta Thunberg to challenge the leaders of the world to care for Earth.

How long will the transformation take?

All of our time with God is linking heaven and earth, and we are sharers in his divinity as he is in our humanity. Far from being the absence of Jesus, it is his presence in a new way among us.Donal Neary sj

Alma Cabassi rsj

Photo by Motoki Tonn obtained on Unsplash. Used with permission.