Since March when parishes were closed, we have been receiving a Spiritual Communion—social distanced, stay-at-home-Communion—which many of you still receive. A few brave souls began returning to church when we were given the opening instructions by our Archbishop, but many people are/were not yet willing to take the risk of in-person Communion—and that is fine. Even though I missed Communion with people in church, spiritual Communion works! When just the staff was present for live streaming the mass, none of us partook (except for Fr. Kevin) as we were in Communion with you, missing also the “Real Presence” of Jesus. We grew to realize that we were still receiving Him anyway; and we felt satisfied to reach out from a distance to our parishioners/friends/family because we were all sharing these unusual circumstances. Spiritual Communion taught us how to be together when we were apart—and I know I was fed by that.
I have discovered that other (surprising) things feed me too on this pandemic journey—and I am filled by the love and care I see that the people in our Community have for each other—all the efforts that have been made to communicate and check on each other in just how we are doing in all this.
I find I have been filled with the satisfaction of small, quiet moments in our days—something I hope to keep for the future. There have been moments of grace and time to reflect on them. I am living in gratitude for many things I have taken for granted: gatherings of people for many purposes; music sung together in groups like choir and in church; technology that we have to connect over time and space; cooking for interest rather than just hunger; more time for longer conversations.
I am filled with the pride of a particular “patriotism” in that our own domestic struggles for justice have spread throughout the world to other brothers and sisters in need—launching, igniting a ‘global pandemic’ for fighting for equal rights for all persons of color; for speaking out and standing up to the sins of prejudice and privilege or economic injustice; for inclusion of any other diversities with which God has graced us. This fills me with hope for us all, in spite of what may seem chaotic.
The pain of something old falling apart feels like chaos, but we are invited in these situations to listen at a deeper level and to go to a ‘new place’ because the old place is—and must—fall apart. It does not feel good—but however uncomfortable you are with what is happening—imagine how uncomfortable it is to be a marginalized person in any society. Our ‘instinct’ is to do anything to keep the old thing we know from falling apart. This is when we need patience, guidance, and the freedom to let go of old stuff instead of tightening our controls and certitudes. Not accidentally, Jesus mentions the narrow road right after teaching the Golden Rule as He knows how much letting go it takes to “treat others as you would like them to treat you.” Any transformation will always include growing pains, disconcerting reorientations, honest self-reflection and reconciliation. Any change is difficult.
What does this have to do with the Eucharist and todays’ Solemnity? The Eucharist is an invitation to a social experience in the shared presence of God, and to be present to all in a real way. Within our Trinitarian belief, (remember last weekend) everything comes down to relationship. In very physical language table bread is called “my body” and wine is called “my blood.” We are saying “yes” to both the physical universe itself with the bloody suffering of our own life and all of creation. In Communion we then thank God (eucharisteo in Greek), the Origin of all life, who allows and uses this death that life includes—the death of sin. We are making a choice for gratitude, abundance, and appreciation for all gifts and creation from God—and all must be re-gifted away in generosity, mercy, kindness and trust. That is the Eucharist we celebrate today! Lord, whether we receive You sacramentally or spiritually, help us to know that we are all joined together in your real presence through your Body and Word. No exceptions. Amen! By what are you fed? Food for thought…
Keep singing in your hearts!
Just a note: I am filled with the joy of good people who gather—on zoom! Members of the St. Aidan Music Ministry called/zoomed me on Saturday to wish me a Happy Birthday. We shared stories, lamented the virus and no singing in groups directive, looked at haircuts and laughed and prayed together. This is what fills me: God’s strategy for a more loving, kind, merciful and generous way of living in His world.
Some pics of our Saturday Music Ministry zoom; and our choir dog, Gretel, modeling Christian caring for others by wearing a mask.