Editor’s Note: Donna Wassmuth thought it would be good if Fr. Paul shared this column with the Chronicle and he agreed to do so.
As we move into week 2 without the public celebration and more news about how COVID-19 is spreading it is easy to get down. But there is good to be seen and to draw strength and encouragement from, if we can open our eyes to see it. It is so very easy to only look and see the bad, that is the evil temptation that comes from you know who.
1) One of the goods we can see, is the dedication of self-giving of the doctors and nurses around the world. We see retired medical people coming out of retirement, putting themselves at risk in order to help others.
2) We see researchers reaching out across human-made lines of divisions to share information;
3) Countries are reaching out beyond their borders to help other countries with information and supplies;
4) We see people remembering or realizing what is really important in our lives, the people in our lives not just the things;
5) People are reaching out more to family members by phone, emails, twitter, facebook, etc.
6) People turning more to God in prayer and supplications.
7) People are putting toilet paper in the Food Bank crate for those in need to be able to have some ;-)
Points 5 and 6 are so very important. We, people everywhere, tend to take the people in our lives and God for granted. Our parents, our brothers and sisters, our spouses and children are always there. It is so normal and easy to take them for granted, until they are gone, or as now, at risk of being taken away. Then our eyes can be opened and we can see how very important they are and how very much we love them. The COVID-19 virus can remind us to share that love with them now while they and we ourselves can appreciate it.
We tend to do this same thing with God. We take Him and our religion for granted. We get so used to receiving the Eucharist each week or even daily, that we overlook what a gift the Eucharist really is. How many of us come up to Communion, because it is the time to do that during Mass? Or come to Mass because it is the Sunday Obligation? Jesus gave us His Body and Blood as a gift! The celebration of the Mass is a gift from God, but it can all become just a routine for us. A hundred years ago, pre-Vatican II Council of 1962-1965, very few people received Holy Communion; the priest and maybe a small handful of people. Most people only received 2 or 3 times in their lives because of the idea that you had to be in a state of PERFECT grace, no sins at all. Vatican II changed this “being in a state of grace”, to no Mortal Sins. Then most people could receive when they came to the celebration of the Mass. WHAT A GIFT! Being denied the Mass now can help us to grow in appreciation of the gift we have when we can gather together to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. God bless and be with us all.
Father Paul Wander