May 24, 2020 - A View from the Rectory Window
I mentioned in a recent homily that it saddened me that you could not pray in our parish churches this Easter season. In particular, I was mindful that you could not see the telling of the Resurrection in our new stained-glass windows in the Church of the Resurrection. Leading up to Easter we could not walk the stations of the cross and in May we could not crown the statues of Our Lady.
These experiences brought to mind how wondrously our humble physical church buildings themselves express the story of our faith; for a church building has the ability to “transform” people who enter it. While our churches may not reflect the grandeur of cathedrals, they do enrich our understanding of what it means to be a Church.
It is an understanding that through Word and Sacrament and Sacramentals you have to change your perspective. On this, the Feast of the Ascension, Sacred Scripture tells us that after Jesus ascended to heaven, angels appeared to the apostles. They asked them who were staring skyward to the heavens, to change their perspective; “Men of Galilee,” the angels asked, “why do you stand there looking at the sky?”
And with that, the apostles returned to Jerusalem to begin the great work of converting the world. I believe that after feasting on the beauty of our own parish churches, which also directs our minds and hearts heavenward—we all need to return to our own Jerusalems, our own lives, to confront the world around us. It makes more urgent the dismissal we hear at the end of the liturgy: “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord with your life.” We should enter a church and raise our eyes; we should leave it and see the world directly before us.
The question before us, in these days of pandemic, is do we recognize a world waiting for us to make it new? When we return to our churches, I pray that, we will be inspired by what we witness and transformed by what we have receive.
Tellingly, as you leave St. Casimir’s Church, you have to descend down a row of stairs. You need to look where you’re going and get your bearings, reorient yourself to what is outside the church walls, and focus more intently on the world around you. Isn’t that how all of us should feel on leaving church?
In these days of social distancing from our churches, may we embrace the opportunity to live the promise of the Ascension transforming our world under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,
Past Views from the Rectory Window: