As humans, we can't help but idealize the past. In every age, the world was always better some 10, 20, or 30 years previously. Idealizing the past is deeply ingrained in us. We can't help but reminisce about the good old days.
Growing up, my father would always say how much easier my siblings and I had it. He would talk about how he only had one pair of shoes to go to school, how he would walk barefoot and carry his shoes over his shoulder when it rained to protect them from damage. And of course, when dad started telling his stories my brothers and I would roll our eyes, as if we had never heard them before. Inevitably, we would kid around and say, 'Dad, we bet you had to walk a whole mile without shoes!' Which would only encourage him to go on about the fact it was not one mile, but several miles; and this is after he had already finished feeding the cows. My brothers and I found dad's stories unbelievable. Surely, he must have exaggerated on some of the details. But then we would be around when dad's old friends would visit and they would talk about the good old days when they had to feed cows before school, walk barefoot on rainy days to preserve their shoes, and (with joy that was so evident in their eyes and a collective nod) agree with one another, "life was so much better and simpler in the good old days."
I guess as unbelievable as dad's stories were, they really happened.
I find myself sounding more and more like my dad. I have my own personal stories to tell my children. And like dad, I tell my kids how much easier they have life nowadays compared to when I was growing up. And just like my brothers and I before them, my daughters roll their eyes whenever I start telling my stories. Yes, I may have told my stories once or twice, or as my daughters would say, "a thousand times!".
Ah, the "good old days." We all look so fondly on them, and this longing for the past permeates to everything in our lives.
People say things were better for them 10, 20, or 30 years ago. They say, "people and neighborhoods were safer, music nowadays is plain junk - you could barely understand the lyrics; idols and heroes were far more superior, and so on."
Even the bad times, the times of struggle and suffering are looked upon with equal fondness; perhaps because through them we feel a sense of triumph, how we've overcome, and how we developed lasting friendships, and learned who will be with us through thick and thin.
This nostalgia is not limited to old people only. Young people love their #ThrowbackThursday and 80's themed parties at schools - an era that was long before their time. The pull to recollect the past is so strong that young people put filters on pictures they've just taken to make them look like 'instant classics' before sending them on Instagram or Snapchat.
And so, we tell and re-tell stories of our past. We can't help it. But who would be better to know about the past than someone who has been there from the beginning - Jesus.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. I believe this fond longing for the past is, in the deepest sense, our longing for our true home in heaven, where everything will be truly better. And if it is in the deepest sense a longing for home, who would know better about our ultimate destination, our final home, than our Lord?
Jesus told many stories about our Father and about our ultimate destination. There is, however, a story he didn't, and couldn't, tell but it was told by the disciples and other eyewitnesses. We were told of Jesus being beaten, crucified on the cross, and yet at the very end, still forgave his torturers out of love. We may not have seen his sacrifice in person, but the apostles did. Just as this sacrifice might sound so incredible and unbelievable, it really did happen. It may cause us to ask, "How could someone endure such brutality and still love in the end?" but the apostles attest to it.
And so, at Catholic World Mission, our donors and supporters honor this sacrifice through our mission. Our mission of building the Kingdom of God is not only through supporting the material needs of people around the world, but we also - more importantly - never forget to tell the story of Jesus. Through our partners, we share the "good old days" - when God became man, lived among us, died, and sacrificed for us, so that we not only long for the past, but also live life fully in the present, and wait in joyful anticipation of the future when all will be united with God in heaven.
Your support of our Annual Fund Drive and other appeals makes the story of Jesus sacrifice genuine to those in need of material and spiritual support. Thank you