By Fr. Earl Henley, MSC
(California Community - St. Joseph Mission - San Jacinto, CA)
We wring our hands in the fear of facing the unknown. We worry about those who are sick and their caretakers and health care workers. We worry about poor parishes and how they will survive such economic loss and where to go from here. My brothers and sisters, this is the place where we all need to learn and practice our "baptismal call". In the Gospel of John, the disciples along with Mary were practicing "social distancing." They were locked together in fear in a small room. They were afraid that they too would be killed in the light of Jesus' death. They huddled in embrace, smelled the sweat of panic. Our world is much like that room now.
Technology may well be the work of the Holy Spirit as a way to increase communication in these days of isolation. Allow thee Holy Spirit to speak and console you even on the computer or cell phone. Getting the word out, phone calls, Zoom meetings, quiet reflections time, praying the rosary and daily walking are some things I have been doing daily. We, as Church, need to minister to one another-- and together.
Pentecost tells us a beautiful story about God's and the apostles’ transformation. But they did not receive the Spirit just that one day. They were immersed in the Spirit again and again. The book of Acts records seven times that the apostles were "filled" with the Spirit. (Acts 2:4, 4:8, 31:6:8, 7:55, 13:9, 52). And this does not count all the other times it never made it in the Bible! And again, and again, John's Gospel assures us that God "does not ration his gift of the Spirit" (3:34). Follow the apostles' example. Believe in God's Spirit and then pray for it. Keep praying, not just on this special day. Pope Francis has asked us, during the month of May, which we celebrate the saying of the rosary, that families and groups pray to defeat the virus of Covid 19. You might even ask a few faith-filled friends to pray with you for a new outpouring of the Spirit in your life. You may not see wind or fire, but the Spirit will come to you in a new, unexpected, and even extraordinary ways-not only for your benefit, but for the good of the body, the Church!
Let us continue to pray: Prayer for a Pandemic…
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 we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips remember those that have no place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of 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. During 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 neighbors. AMEN
Noshun Lovfk- Peace to you Fr. Earl Henley, MSC