Search This Blog

Get into the ring! How this works...

This is easy! Each week on Thursday I post my homily main focus for preaching this coming Sunday. What I am hoping for is a reaction from people in the pews. Does my "focus" connect with your daily life, faith, and experience? Or not? Either affirm the direction I am going in (by giving me an example from your life) or challenge me, ask for clarification! Questions are the best! Reaction rather than reflection is what I'm looking for here. Don't be afraid, get in the ring. Ole!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Dorothy of Oz

-Techno problems has 5/29 homily lost in space
-Scriptures for Ascension are at
-I am preaching at 4:00pm and 12:30pm

Coming and Going!

In the classic movie the Wizard of Oz, one finds many repeatable statements that might be considered "classics" themselves. This is so true, in my opinion, that I have dubbed the protagonist as "Dorothy the Great of Kansas".

The line of Dorothy's that strikes at the heart of this week's Ascension Mystery is " My, people certainly come and go quickly around here!". Yes, indeed, "coming and going" is a phrase that describes a kind of dynamic interchange. You might see this most vividly If you ever "people watch" at an airport. What you see is the unending chain of farewell and hello, in fact that is the whole point of an airport...coming and going.

The Acts of the Apostles today locates the life of the nascent church in the context of this coming and going. It says that "This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” Going and coming - an intersection in reality - a rendezvous in communion.

Coming and going might be understood theologically as the Paschal Mystery, which we describe as dying and rising. It seems that this mode of interchange is fundamental to the life of God, the communion of the church, and the discipleship we embrace. Check this out.

God comes to us in creation and goes away from us in banishment from the garden. God comes to us in the Exodus and goes away in the wandering of the desert. God comes to us in the Law at Sinai and goes away in idol worship. God comes to us in the promised land and goes away in the exile. God Gomes to us in the Annunciation and goes away in the Passion. God comes to us in the Resurrection and goes away in the Ascension, God comes to us in Pentecost and goes away into the persecuted life of the Church. God comes to us in the Sacraments/Eucharist and goes away through the death to self.

Call me crazy but I see a pattern here. The arrival, the "hello" of God and grace in our lives is purely prelude and preparation for a departure, a loss, an exit, a farewell. Likewise, the perceived farewells in life with God are likewise prelude and preparation for hello, arrival, an entrance, a new and deeper communion in the life of heaven.

At 12:30 Mass we will celebrate this dynamic. The farewell of our two priests. The priesthood is one of these dynamic interchanges by which God comes to us so richly, in the unique presence of "another Christ". All the while (but especially in their departure from us) the priesthood is also an "usher" or an attendant for the household of heaven, leading us in the "farewell" that is this life and entering us into the life with Christ.

How has God come into your life? is the first step in the divine dance which is looking for an exit. How has God gone away in your life? Don't despair, you are invited to take the step, enter, welcome!


Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting reflection to me. I often thought that if I was where I should be, spiritually, I would ALWAYS and CONTINUOUSLY feel joyful, full of the Spirit, peace, etc.

I do feel those things but they are short-lived. It is the ebb-and-flow of God like the Matador said. It helps me to remember the saints often went through this also, and did not always feel God in their lives. lr

Anonymous said...

It is this "coming and going" is this "change of feelings" from love to abandonment by my own God, that is allowing me to realize that I am nothing, God is in charge.
I just try to allow Him to transform me, His way no mine. Consenting to His will is a tremendous feeling, painful indeed, but St. John of the Cross teaches... the night is very dark and arid.
Read, if time allows "Dark Night of the Soul" by St. John of the Cross.
Peace. Gitana

Anonymous said...

I understand how alot of the saints experienced the dark night. I understand that He uses the dark night of the soul to purify and draw nearer to Him. However, it is still confusing to me why He would make Himself so elusive and draw away from us. To test our faith? To keep us from thinking we are holier than we really are? To teach us how to persevere? Probably all of these things. lr

Anonymous said...

He is ALWAYS with us,he is in the center of our being, he will never leave us. The way I understand is we are "babies" in a spiritual way. Like a baby reaches the point of no more milk from the mother and has to get use to eat solid food, causing lots of pain a tears, Jesus do the same to us, he console us with beautiful feelings and them He pretend that he is not with us, because he want us to mature in our love for him and cry for him.
"No pain no gain", no?
Do not think for a moment that God left you!
Testing us? I do not take it as "testing", more like "do not be afraid" I am around.
I do not know if I should answer you, may be this is Fr. Ed position, but I love your reflection and I though to say a few words.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Gitana! It's nice to know something I've said here has had a positive influence on others. And thanks for always posting such thoughful reflections yourself. lr

Anonymous said...

“The only love you keep, is the love you give away”

How has God come into my life…by allowing me to recognize HIS love and helping me to accept it in its most whole and pure form, best I humanly can. It is in an acceptance of Truth, I think for me, that may lead to the self-denial thing … the dying to self … Thus,

How has God gone away in my life… by allowing HIS love to flow through me in the same gifted manner I was asked in receiving it, as best as it humanly can… the letting go… allowing myself to be God’s instrument so as to live a life of witness - building HIS Kingdom here on earth.

At least this is what I tell myself when I wonder why God does what HE does. I think it helps me to remain mindful that HE is always with me… There is no way I could ever do it on my own. And, it is in this, that I am only sometimes blessed to see God’s Providence.

No, it’s not easy, (I constantly mess up) and yes, it is painful… this participation in HIS sacrificial love, putting God first and the other before myself.

I, for one, know all I really have is God.

anon 1 said...

Sorry for this late entry, but while I didn’t have the benefit of hearing Fr. Estok preach this weekend, I was intrigued with the various reflections, particularly the exchange between Gitana and lr.

Particularly interesting to me was the thinking about what happens as we experience a feeling of departure from Jesus in our lives – and how this helps us mature in our love for him. It seems to me that another effect of this feeling of loss is an opening of our heart to others, bringing about deeper communion with God and with others. For instance, when my mother died, my first reaction was deep sorrow. But as time went on that love that could no longer be spent on her was shared with a variety of others - just in different ways. Of course that person who is missing in the way to which we had become accustomed (physically present) can never be replaced; but rather than that love wasting away, it can be poured out in different ways on others who are in need. While our temptation may be to shut down – “why are you standing there looking at the sky?” – the Spirit pushes us on – “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…teaching them.”

In other words, perhaps Jesus showers us with His love so that we can know the experience of God in our lives – and then as He draws away (not leaving us, but leaving us open) we realize the call to share that love He shared with us, thereby building up the Body of Christ even further, broadening the circle of communion and love extended by His Father and ours.

Anonymous said...

LOVE IT anon1!!!!! lr

melody said...

Father- It was a great comfort to hear you preach this today. Well done and thank you! I think many of our hearts are still a bit sore as we see the two good priests leave... they are like family and we love them dearly. But you helped direct our thoughts and emotions correctly and I left Mass feeling far more joy and hope than loss. I can't wait to see what God has in store for our parish and know, too, that He has great plans for the those who are leaving. Of course, I'd just as soon have them stay here than go but I'm not in charge... and thank heaven for that! Can you imagine the state of things? :)
We are looking forward to meeting our new shepherds and will continue to pray for all of you. Thanks again and God bless you!