Homily given on Sunday, 15.03.2020
Fr. Joseph Bolin
„whoever drinks of the water that I give him,
will never thirst again“
In the past few days various measures have been taken that starkly impact daily life. The Church, too, does her part with the decision to celebrate no public liturgies until further notice. For many, these measures are a great sacrifice.
1. Let us view this sacrifice as a mode of christian fasting, a particularly special lent. Whether we have to cancel a planned vacation or have to give up physical attendance at the Mass, such sacrifice can be a fasting in the service of charity and prayer, in thh service of the mystical and spiritual life.
2. Let us not act from fear, but from love. If we go shopping less frequently, as far it is possible work remotely from home, refrain from shaking hands or hugging on greeting acquiantances or friends, or communicate via electronic means rather than in person, let’s do it not out of fear of a virus, that might be hiding in someone, but out of love for others, whom we might unknowingly infect.
We can show love of neighbor also in helping others who are unable or who should not go out, by taking care of various errands for them.
3. Above all, let us turn in faith and prayer to Jesus, who is always with us, even in the midst of worries and we sometimes inclined to ask, like the Israelites did , “Is the LORD in our midst or not?”
Yes, the LORD is among us, and he longs, in this time, for our faith and love, he longs to be living water for us. His love longs to still the thirst of our hearts, to give us inner peace. We are given to grace to encounter him, the source of living water, not only in the Eucharist, in the Holy Mass, but everywhere, where we seek him with a sincere heart, “in Spirit and truth.” The church building, the physical presence at the liturgy stands in service of this spiritual reality, to be united with Jesus Christ in faith and in love, and with his mystical body, brothers and sisters in Christ.
Certainly the church as a place of a worship can be conducive to prayer and remains open for personal prayer.
In place of the communal celebration of liturgy, not possible at this time, we can use the time for various forms of prayer and meditation, or we might unite ourselves in prayer to a Mass being celebrated and transmitted live over radio, television or internet. In this way we unite ourselves to God, and also remain in spiritual union with one another, even if we cannot come together physically to celebrate liturgy together.
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The churches in Kenya remain open. A few modifications: no hand shake before the Agnus Dei, no holy water in the founts, no administration of the host onto the tongue, and hand sanitizers at the entrances and exits to the church.
In addition, confession, which typically places the priest and penitent at 1-2 feet from each other, has been temporarily suspended.