A drought of faith community
(Easter Morning, 2020)
It is an unusual Lent, one modern humans have never experienced. Living in the US, we are accustomed to coming and going as we please. This is a new experience, one of limitations and religious sacrifice.
A modern plague ensues. The difference, today, is we have the science to know the cause and how it is spread, unlike our medieval brethren. We are able to identify, trace, and adopt measures to reduce the spread.
As a result, we all now experience a drought of community. As we are limiting our contact with one another, we must also sacrifice the sacraments. The infection kills, indiscriminately, and victims die without human touch, alone, fearful, and without last rites from a priest. Priests are actually forbidden to enter hospitals. Forbidden by the very system of public healthcare our Catholic predecessors and saints instituted. Priests can only stand outside, in their churches, or in their own abodes, and pray for the dying from afar. Thankfully, our priests make ministrations for all the known and unknown patients who will pass from this life to the next all alone.
During this time of sacramental sacrifice and drought of our faith community, perhaps it is a mental and religious reset for all. We are reminded the church is more than just a place. The church is a people united to God. United in cause. United in caring for one another.
As people find their former Easter traditions do not fit today's situation, they are looking for new ways to create community, new ways to look to the East for Christ's return. For our little parish, we have embraced Adoration in place of the Mass on Sundays. It may only be the same ten of us each Sunday but we are there, praying for ourselves, for our families, for our greater community. We choose to spend our time in the desert contemplating the Eucharist, the face of God, separate but together.
Today, we quietly celebrate Christ's rising from the tomb, conquering death for all eternity. Spread apart in the church, we all look at Jesus and he looks back at us. We all speak silently from our hearts with him. It truly is a two-way conversation when one takes the time to listen. We are so grateful.
Christ is Risen!