At this time each of us needs what Faith we have and the support of our community – the community of family, friends, school, Parish and Church, and other groups that sustain us. You, like me, may at times feel confused, afraid, anxious or adrift – understandable in the face of a new reality – but we also need one another’s Faith to help us through… and they need ours!
Every experience can be a call to love more, and we need to care for each other and for ourselves too. How disappointing that our churches must now be closed to the public – this in addition to the recent suspension of public Masses by the Diocese of Broken Bay. We must remain people of Hope.
Might this period be a time of reimagining for us personally, as a community and as Church? Perhaps a time to revisit what we truly believe, to reconnect with the God within, the God who holds us in the palm of his hand. I find great strength in the following wisdom:
‘Buildings are closed, not the Church. We are the Church… and we remain open in faith,
hope and love!’
As Church, we are invited to look beyond what is good for us to what is good for all – our act of love as Christians and as Church. St Augustine wrote about the ‘Whole Christ’ - the Body of Christ where we are part of one another, responsible for the good of all - echoes of St Paul’s reflections on how, when one part suffers, we all suffer in the Body of Christ. In the face of our human vulnerability, one positive outcome for us may be a deeper appreciation of Jesus’ taking on our humanness in the first place, ‘His state was divine but he did not cling to his equality with God, but emptied himself… and became as we are!’ (Philippians 2:6-7).
During this time, many concerns come to mind for families where the dynamic will change significantly, even if only for a few weeks. Loss of employment and income will be real for some, an area of stress, along with the challenge of spending extra time with one another, perhaps moving us out of our comfort zones and customary routines. Children's routines may be disrupted too, particularly if they are engaged in ‘distance learning’ and their customary sport and entertainment outlets are not available to them.
When we are thrown back on our own personal and spiritual resources, we need to look after our inner self, our heart, so some attention to journaling or prayer is really important – perhaps praying as a household. During this time, the parish bulletin will contain the Sunday readings and a Gospel reflection. As well, there are many suitable sites on the internet, including live streaming of Sunday Mass or weekday Masses if you find that helpful. In the parish we hope to live-stream Mass on a Saturday evening. Other sites are listed in this bulletin.
Be assured of our pastoral concern for you all. The Augustinians are offering Mass for you privately each day, including for Mass intentions you have requested. While aged care and nursing home facilities are in lockdown, the priests are available to visit the sick if required and for emergency calls. The Parish Office remains open as usual.
For Christians, ‘reimagining’ includes the call to find strength and hope in St Augustine’s words: ‘We are Easter People and Alleluia is our song!’