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Of Ascension's Solemnity

Published: 02 June 2019

Black doves on a lamp post.

Salvation has always been an abstract concept for me. As I was taught, it's supposed to have erased the stain of Original Sin— that's when Adam and Eve gave in to the Devil and ate of the forbidden fruit, the first ever transgression by humans against God. But over time, I've heard people talk of Salvation as if it applied to the forgiveness of all sins, original or not.

For a long time, I didn't really care what it is for.

But today, whether it goes against Canon, I have decided to go with the first concept: Salvation is towards erasing Original Sin. It doesn't make sense for me that just because Jesus took a beating, was killed, and defeated death means that every thing wrong that I do is, eventually, going to just be forgiven— even without my involvement.

At some point I will have to make amends to the people that I've hurt and provide reparations, if they deem it necessary. If that wasn't the case, we wouldn't have need for laws that apply to crimes against persons and property, right? If I accidentally run over someone's cat, it would be so easy to just say, “hey, Jesus has already paid for that, bye.” Of course, that's a very simplistic way of looking at Salvation. But I don't see why it needs to get complicated when many other people talk about it in such simple terms.

Today, if I remember correctly, the “Solemnity of the Ascension of Jesus” is celebrated. The Gospel is from Luke 24:46-53 and it simply gives a very brief summary of what transpired right before Jesus left his disciples for Heaven. But the priest's homily centred on something that isn't even mentioned in the passages.

Humility was the message.

While the Gospel did talk about the event as if it were the culmination of God's plan for Jesus (not really my thoughts, I just came across it in one reflection posted online), my take from the priest's message was that we must not be complacent. That, at times, it takes a lot of inner strength to be able to accept that what we may have thought as very positive action may still have hurt others. And it takes fortitude to actually get our asses up and speak to the people that we have unintentionally hurt to say “sorry” and to move forward from there. That strength and fortitude are all but products of humility— the idea that the world doesn't revolve around the self and accepting one's smallness in the grand scheme of things.

To hurt people and think nothing more of it, I think, wastes the ordeal that Jesus had to go through. It wastes His victory over death. If God can humble Himself and send His Son down to us for us to beat and kill just so we can be free of the Devil's clutches, why can't we get ourselves to come together and just ask for forgiveness from one another— and forgive?

But humility is the message— not courage. And I don't believe I have that right now.

The priest that says the 17:30 Mass at the Padre Pio shrine, I noticed, always shares some form of mantra in his homilies. Last week, it was “Be generous in your kindness. Be extravagant in your grace.” He has good style. For this Sunday's homily, it was:

In the Word of God,
I am who it says that I am;
I have what it says that I have;
I can do what it says that I can do.

Maybe “courage tempered with humility and an awareness of its potential to become arrogance” is the message. I don't know. LOL! Let's keep things simple for now.

If I've hurt you in anyway, especially in a way that I am not aware of—

I am, indeed, very sorry.