May 8, 2020
The Pandemic of the COVID-19 continues to stay with us and it is really changing our lives now. The transformations are almost unbelievable and surrealistic. In the face of such a reality, we as believers continue to sing a new song to the Lord! Today’s Entrance Antiphon from Psalm 97 beautifully declares: “O sing a new song to the Lord, for the Lord has worked wonders in the sight of the nations the Lord has shown the Lord’s deliverance.”
No need to entertain any doubt or uncertainty! The Responsorial Psalm today exclaims powerfully “let Your love be upon us, Lord, even as we hope in you.” (Psalm 33). The Gospel Acclamation (from John 14) shouts “I am the way, the truth, and the life, says the Lord: no one comes to the Father/Mother, except through me.” And the Communion Antiphon (from John 15) strongly reminds us near the end of the Eucharist: “I am the true vine and you are the branches, says the Lord. Whoever remains in me, and I in him/her bears fruit in plenty.”
In today’s First Reading from Acts 6 the disciples are increasing in number but their widows are neglected in the distribution of food within the community. The disciples gather the community to remind it that their work is to spread God’s Word and not to be concerned with food. So the community chooses seven men to look after the food situation. Traditionally these seven men were seen to be deacons. And God’s Word continues to spread the disciples increase in number.
The Second Reading is from 1 Peter 2. It urges us to come to the Lord and let ourselves be built into a spiritual house and offer acceptable sacrifice to God through Jesus Christ. This reading tells us that we who believe accept the Lord as precious and proclaim Him to the whole world.
The Gospel today is from John 14 and it begins Jesus’ farewell discourse in John’s Gospel. Here Christ tells us that we should not be troubled but to believe in Him when He tells us that He goes to God to prepare a place for us. Christ tells us strongly that He is our way, our truth, and our life to God the Father/Mother. Jesus makes very clear that He is in God the Father/Mother and this God is in us. Christ reminds us that His work shows the truth of all this.
From all of the above and from the Pandemic that has engrossed our lives today, what can we learn for our Christian journey today? Here are some of these life lessons:
- We desperately need God in our lives. Do not think that God is punishing us through the Pandemic because that is not the case. The Pandemic arose in a world that is by nature limited and imperfect and not even God can create a perfect world because this phrase is self-contradictory, i.e., it is impossible to have a world that is perfect since only God is totally perfect. So it has to have defects!
- When you get these reflections, the churches will still be closed. Have a simple short celebration this Sunday with the family and use what you have learned in this commentary. In simple terms, have a short celebration that involves the whole family. Just make sure the children learn some of the lessons in the Liturgy of the Word in their own words and understanding. Do keep it simple!
- Approach the world and your family the way the early Church approached the world: it was hungry to share with the world what they knew about the Gospel and did it simply.
- In the home, set up a glass jar where the family can put in coins and then make a donation of this to a good cause, e.g., food banks.
- At other times, you can say the rosary (or part of it) with the family. Again be sure all are allowed to participate.
- Send a “thank you” note to our Prime Minister for all he and our government do to keep us safe from COVID-19. Stress with the family the necessity of gratitude and gratefulness in our lives. Teach this; show this in your own life; say lots of prayers of gratitude to God yourself.
- Please pray for the frontliners who are protecting us and our families. Show outwardly your gratefulness here and teach the children, especially the younger ones, to do this.
Two last observations. Firstly, when you are all living together for long periods of time, do remember that people still have a need to have some personal time alone. Make sure this happens! It is necessary for everyone’s psychological health! Secondly, today is also Mother’s Day. Please be sure to acknowledge this.
May God always bless you and all your loved ones. Amen.
Father Fred Scinto, C.R.