This week (last Thursday or tomorrow -Sunday: dates do vary depending on places) the church celebrates the feast of Ascension. It commemorates the ascension of Jesus into heaven and is celebrated on the 40th day after Easter. It is definitely not one of the popular feasts in many places and with COVID-19, it was much less celebrated.
I heard a homily where the preacher said that it can be compared or contrasted with Incarnation (definitely not a mathematical opposite). When one celebrates the feast of God becoming man, the other celebrates the completion of that initial mission. (I am not going to do a theological exposition of Ascension here).
When God decided to save humanity, he didn’t take a human form (or dressed as a human) but became human. This is one of the greatest Christian mysteries. Jesus, who was God (who was fully God) became fully human. Did he leave the divine nature? The Christian faith says he was fully divine and fully human. He entered into humanity completely without losing a tinge of divinity. (Christians speak of kenosis, or emptying himself, which was a choice made by Jesus and it doesn’t mean he lost any bit of divinity.). And in the Ascension (or even with resurrection), did he lose the humanity? Definitely NO. The insertion was so deep and so full that it can’t go away.
This is the difference between wearing a new cloth to be adapted to a new style and insertion into that style. A complete insertion is not a temporary process, but something that will have an everlasting mark (I am not getting a better word.) in your life.
Many people already live such insertions deeply in their life. Mothers and Fathers, who are working, are inserted in both their worlds (personal and professional) completely. Many foreign missionaries who went to a different culture are other examples. Many of them have become Indians (in every good sense of the term), but they may not have lost their original culture, though it may be hidden many times.
When we hear about the crisis of migrants (and many more poor people), I think these types of insertions offer a real way out. I have heard of some Jesuits who work in cities and who are equally committed to the rural causes. It is like I am urban and rural at the same time; I am a worker and unemployed at the same time. It’s about ‘being at home in many situations.’
I agree that insertions are not always easy and some of the above phrases can solely remain in papers. But insertions are not impossible. A realization that I can live in such dualities or multiplicities and an ability to live in such multiplicities (living all your natures deeply, and not faking that I am living all of them) makes compassion and solidarity possible.
(Note: I am not speaking of having multiple identities (living multiple identities is required for all, but it can grow into multiple insertions).