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Homily of Bishop Crean – Feast of Christ the King – 22nd Nov. 2020

Feast of Christ the King

22nd November 2020

St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh

Finding Christ in the Crisis

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My friends,

Where do we find God in the pandemic that is Covid 19?  That is the question that a recent book raises with the title “Finding Christ in the Crisis – what the pandemic can teach us”.

The concerns and questions ‘round Covid 19 are endless – we are getting tired of so much conversation about it.  We are getting impatient because we feel that our lives are being put on hold until it is over – that somehow, we are being robbed of precious time and experience that we will never get back.

Then on the other hand you have people who are convinced that this is something of a punishment from God for the state of the world – something of a divine retribution that God is livid with us and Covid 19 is the expression of his wrath and anger.

In truth neither perspective is helpful because both focus on attributing blame to others for the state we are in.

“Finding Christ in the Crisis” is an appropriate challenge for us as we mark the Feast of Christ the King – a celebration that marks the close of our cycle of prayer through 2020 before we begin anew next Sunday the 1st of Advent.

Looking back, we have gathered infrequently since St. Patrick’s Day and when we did gather in prayer in parishes it has been trimmed and limited for health reasons.  Thanks to understanding and co-operation we celebrated with the essentials.  It is important to remember that though limited in our gathering our prayer, with and for one another, was not confined by bricks and mortar, nor by regulation and restrictions but found generous and heartfelt expression to God and to Our Lady within and without the Church building.

The adjustments required in Church life mirrored even greateradaptations that were required in terms of work and recreation.  This experience of having to knuckle down to many impositions required of us has been very upsetting for some.  While many are coping well and can be patient and forbearing, for countless others the experience of restriction of their natural choices and preference is deeply disturbing.  So much so that we speak often now about people’s wellbeing and mental health.

Spiritually, something deeply important and fundamental is going on.  For a large percentage of people of all ages we have become accustomed to “doing our own thing” making individual and personal choices – because we can and we think it is our right.  Covid 19 has stopped us in our tracks – because we are being told – “you just cannot do that now – you have to consider the impact of your behaviour on others”!

Remember the mantra at the beginning “We are all in this together” and so we are but it takes us time to embrace that message.  That is where Finding Christ in the Crisis”comes in and is so important.  For Advent I have offered a Pastoral Reflection which will be issued this week.  It offers some thoughts and suggestions under the title “Living our Faith in a Fragile World”.  I hope you will find it helpful.

The Gospel for this Feast of Christ the King is invariably that dramatic scene of the Final Judgement where the Lord welcomes those who have loved and cared for others in life where the hungry got fed, the thirsty given drink, the stranger made welcome, the naked clothed and the prisoner visited.

This is Christ in the Crisis; this is the Lord teaching us in the here and now to lift our minds and hearts beyond the horizon of our focus on self and think of the bigger picture of society and humanity.  I was surprised to hear the Health Minister of Saudi Arabia, state so clearly in regard to the distribution of a vaccine when it becomes available.  “No one is safe until all are safe”.

So, our lives are not on hold – this is the time, this is our moment.  Not yesterday, not tomorrow or some dim distant future.  Now is the hour to find Christ in the Crisis.

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