In these days of lockdown we are all too aware of what has been taken from us. We are not able to leave our homes for regular work, study, recreational and social occupations and pastimes. That’s a lot to lose.
Then we are confined, living perhaps alone or with family or a friend or two. That’s pretty intense living.
We have also lost many of our usual sacramental and spiritual life-lines. For most of us a Sunday without Mass and other forms of worship is no Sunday at all.
During a regular week many of us make a point of meeting with others as a support for our healthy lifestyles and good commitments. Now we can only do this using phone and social media. It’s ok, but it’s not the same and as a result we feel a bit insecure.
Throughout my ministry as a priest it is the people who have sustained me. Somedays I have gone to the church to celebrate Mass feeling unsure about the present and the future, and a parishioner has been an instrument of God to say the right word to me at the right time. I admit a real vulnerability without this support.
But already people are sharing new-found and hope-filled positives. The New Zealand bishops wrote in a pastoral letter published this weekend that they are inspired by the generous response of parishioners to this unexpected Lenten penance. They reflect that they are excited by the evidence that people are encountering Christ within their own homes as they pray together, looking forward to the time when they can participate in the sacraments. Many follow the live-streaming of Mass and other communal times of prayer, reading the scriptures alone or with families, and praying the Rosary and other devotional prayers.
One family (pictured above) joined with other parishioners to pray using technology with one household providing music, another the prayers of intercession, and the parish priest giving the homily. The parishioner was happy for their pic and this comment to be shared:
While it may seem as though our faith and mission is restricted and even confined in these weeks, we know that we are united with people of faith in every nation on earth who are also deprived of the sacramental life-blood of the church.
But we know too that the Church was born in closed rooms where the first disciples gathered. It was in these confines that the risen Jesus broke through locked doors and fearful hearts to form and now to re-form the church.
- Join with Christians across two thousand years who in every nation have formed their families in faith by teaching prayers and reading bible stories in your home. Read the scriptures aloud as bed-time stories, or use online clips to watch animations of these scriptures with your children or send the links to your grandchildren. Simply type the name of the bible story into a Google search.
- Today’s first reading is a great account of a lone voice bringing justice. The passage is a long one, and probably not intended for children, but you will get the message clearly – and today’s gospel reading continues the theme.
- Take some time to savour some of these comments below contributed by FFF readers in recent days. There is a wealth of life-experience and divine inspiration here. Then remember that your own reflection added in “comment” box below will encourage others.