LAZARUS – TO RISE FROM THE DEAD
Well what a week it has been for us all! During these times our Church is quite practical. We are not expected, and indeed are excused from attending Sunday Mass. We are not expected to place ourselves in harm’s way. We need to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. We also have a responsibility to the broader community, to ensure this virus is contained by restricting our own movements. Today’s Gospel reading is the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. It’s an important reminder for us to have hope.
As you are aware, all Masses and liturgies at St. Pat’s have been cancelled. The Church is not open, even for private prayer during the day. We find this strange and difficult – but perhaps it poses a good awakening for each of us to realise, to what extent, I truly am part of something much bigger than myself!!
Times like this makes us realise how important COMMUNITY is to the Christian life. Community and Communal Prayer. As your priest, part of my essential role is to continue saying the Mass, and to offer those Mass intentions for each and every one of you here in the parish of St. Pat’s, for our country and for the world. Prayer is so powerful – if only we can tap into it. As your priest, my obligation to you, is to continue to say the Mass daily (albeit alone). That said, even I have found saying daily Mass on my own a bit tough this week – for the community of prayer, especially and most importantly for the Mass, is part of our Catholic DNA!! But we plough on, knowing that God affords us help, protection and strength – praying also that God is able to be with our medical personnel and first responders, the sick and infirmed and marginalised during these times especially.
Whilst we are unable to attend the Eucharistic Communion of the Mass physically together, let us resolve to pray together at this time. I commend each one of us to try and pray daily, as a Community of Faith, the Our Father and the below Prayer for a Pandemic, which was forwarded to me. Our Sunday Communion has changed, but we need to see our sense of Community and faith, to be people in the image of Jesus Christ, as remaining strong and unbroken.
PRAYER FOR A PANDEMIC (Cameron Bellm)
May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May those who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between
Preserving their health or making the rent.
May we who have the flexibility to look
After our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money
in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear and anxiety may grip us
Let us choose love.
At this time when we cannot physically
Wrap our arms around each other,
Let us find ways to be the loving embrace
Of God to our neighbours. Amen