6th Sunday of Easter
May 17th 2020
St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh
“Come and hear all who fear God
I will tell what he did for my soul”
I hope you are doing okay through these demanding days. And if you are not doing okay that is fine too. We all react a little differently to situations. Remember that sometimes even people we get on well with can get on our nerves and we on theirs. So this time calls for patience, great patience with one another. Remember always that we have little idea how things are for others and that can be especially true for children and young people. It would be good for us all to heed the simple three words of advice that Pope Francis offered to help create harmony in our families – Please, Thanks and I am sorry.
In that sense this is a good moment for us to spend time together in the presence of the Lord. It is a space for our spirit and soul to breath in the calming grace of his presence – “Be still and know that I am God” – no more words are needed. Let your concern, worry or anxiety in his hands and you will come to a serene place of rest.
Now that we are starting our 3rd month of the ‘lockdown’ more and more we are asking what effect it will have on our lives. In truth, it is too early to tell. Somethings we do know – many families are grieving a loved one because of the virus and though much progress has been made in suppressing it many more families will experience the death of someone near and dear to them. We keep them all continually in our prayer.
We also know that older people are especially vulnerable to the virus – particularly those in nursing homes. Despite the best efforts of their carers many are understandably frightened. Their needs require our special care. Young people have never experienced anything like this before. So,for many it is deeply disturbing to think about their future life prospects. Do not underestimate this.
For people in business even the most accomplished are stretched to the limits to adjust to new commercial realities. The assumptions on which many built their plans have disappeared – “fallen off a cliff”. The potential impact on families will be huge and we need to prepare ourselves to meet and adjust to much changed circumstances.
In projecting these scenarios into the future I do not want to focus on the negative alone but rather to encourage you to remember the rich personal resources and qualities you have within you, both by way of faith and your natural gifts which will equip you well to deal with the new reality facing us.
For our young people those due to celebrate their First Communion, and some parishes who have not yet celebrated Confirmation, this time has had an added level of disruption. You are in our thoughts and prayers. God willing, we will have these celebrations in the Autumn in some form or other.
For all of us, the closure of the churches was a real loss and sacrifice. Thankfully, from tomorrow Monday, May 18th we will be reopening the churches again – just to facilitate private prayer and devotion. In doing so we are mindful not to put people at risk. So provision will be made for the use of hand sanitization and observing “social distancing”. I trust we will be responsible in this 1st Phase of reopening our churches.
It would be wonderful if the young people preparing for First Communion and Confirmation would avail of this reopening of the church to come and pay a visit to pray before the Blessed Sacrament as part of their ongoing preparation for the sacrament they are due to receive.
In the midst of this whole experience of COVID-19 it would be a great grace for us to bring with us the words of Peter in the Second reading.
“Reverence the Lord Christ in your hearts, and always have your answer ready
for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have. But give
it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who
slander you when you are living a good life in Christ may be proved wrong
in the accusations that they bring. And if it is the will of God that you should
suffer, it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong”.
“Come and hear all who fear God
I will tell what he did for my soul”.