Yesterday was a wonderful day for our parish. The Mass was beautiful with Alex being sent on her journey to Texas to enter religious life with the Daughters of Charity. After the Liturgy, we had a reception for her which was so refreshing since I was able to see people and actually have a conversation in person. All the proper restrictions were observed.
After the reception, I baptized Cameron James, a joyous celebration of life as this little guy became a member of the church of Christ. He cried out his response to the celebration, making it clear where he stood. It was just so beautiful and inspiring, his mom and dad shining with love.
I returned to the rectory and thought about the various celebrations. It led me to meditate on the difficulties we all feel these days, for we miss the common human interactions that we took for granted. In some ways, I’m a pastor with little one on one contact with his people. And there is no contact, socially, beyond the few parish gatherings in prayer, and they are truly limited and limiting.
My day yesterday, after the celebrations , was spent in solitary prayer and reflection. I found myself asking the question of the young man in the gospel today, “What more must I do to inherit eternal life?” But the question became, “What must I do during this time of Covid 19 that will root my life in meaning during these isolating days?” I think we ALL are asking this question of ourselves in one way or another. What brings me comfort is I’m not alone in feeling detached.
I think of children wanting so much to BE with their friends, to play in playgrounds and run in the parks. Or the teens who truly need their friends and the various social interactions at school as they develop their independence. These are times that can cause our young to be uncertain about life and what direction their life is taking.
As someone in my mid 60’s, I need to change course and discover new avenues of being a priest and spiritual leader. “What must I do?” Is a question I’m asking with a bit more urgency because my time is no longer filled with the usual activities and interactions I’ve grown accustomed to over many years. All I know is I have to make some changes, many of them internal, allowing the gift of priesthood to be lived in new, and more creative ways. The answer to this gospel question must be rooted in prayer for each one of us.
I continue to pray the mass daily for the people of St. Teresa’s and I pray that each of you will discover new ways to navigate your life during these days where so much is limited. Waiting for a vaccine is one thing; HOW we wait is a totally different matter. The wait may be much longer than we think. I pray that you will respond to this reality in ways that root your everyday life in meaning and purpose. May Christ lead you in new and surprising directions, that will do nothing but bring you joy.