People are certainly becoming frustrated in this time of quarantine and self sheltering. In many cities around the country, we are seeing people protesting the restrictions associated with this crisis in which we live. But there is something very disturbing by these protests, as so many of the people are clearly not self distancing as they carry their signs, walking and expressing their demands that some of the restrictions be lifted.... NOW!! The fact of the matter, however, is that the vast majority of Americans are following the strict directives and believe they are necessary. Yes, we are all frustrated and want to return to work and regain some sense of normalcy. But how this happens must be done in solidarity and unity of purpose.
We must be unified as a people to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the people around us, particularly those who are vulnerable. Life is not only about us as individuals but how we engage as a people unified by common good and common decency. The early Christian community that is described in today’s first reading gathered in unity, to the point of sharing their possessions and wealth. They were of “one mind” in their love of Christ and desire to live as his disciple, sharing and caring for each other in every area of life. The community is only as strong as its unity, that will be fractured and divided when we become self interested and demanding of our comforts.
As a parish, we are UNIFIED in our faith in Christ, our gathering in worship at the Eucharist, our formation of children and adults, our solidarity with immigrants, the undocumented, the poor, the vulnerable, the unborn. We are unified in belief, purpose, and love of our neighbor, who is everyone. We may be divided in our politics and even ways of seeing the church, but we are ultimately united in our faith and outreach to the poor. And we are a strong parish in our unity in what truly matters: life, love and justice, woven together to form a unique tapestry that is a beautiful portrait of discipleship. It’s not about us but about the other and our care for the other.
In this time of crisis, may our parish be an example of a people united with each other and the various communities that make up our city and nation. May we do everything we can to embody in our actions the gospel of Jesus, particularly the call of the Samaritan to be a good and loving neighbor to all those around us. Oftentimes this will make demands upon our comforts and ways of life. This is the cost of discipleship.