• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 27 March 2020 12:48

Being Christ's presence for others during a pandemic

 

Fr Asaeli Raass profile pic 150Dear Friends,

What strange and unsettling days we are living in. Within a matter of weeks our society has been rendered almost unrecognisable thanks to the spread of the coronavirus and the restrictions that are now in place to save lives.

In beautiful autumn weather we see many Australian beaches fenced off and deserted. Shopping centre shelves have been stripped, thousands of people have lost their jobs, churches are closed and even the footy has been cancelled. Where can we find hope in all of this?

For us Christians of course, we know we find our hope in Jesus Christ. But what does that look like in a day to day sense?

Well, we might not have access to the blessed sacrament and Holy Communion, and churches might be closed, which is painful indeed, but that doesn’t mean that church in the broader sense must cease. Quite the opposite in fact. We are the Body of the Christ. We are church. And so Christ continues to live in us.

Therefore, we must continue to be Christ for others. And given the physical restrictions being placed on us, we must find new, creative ways of being the presence of Christ for our neighbour.

That might look like making more phone calls than usual and checking in on those who are elderly, living alone, ill, or vulnerable. It might look like writing old fashioned letters to our relatives and friends in nursing homes or even writing letters to strangers who have no family to write to them.

It might look like buying some groceries and delivering them to those who can’t get out.

The world was entranced a couple of weeks ago when Italians, who are enduring a severe and prolonged lockdown in their homes, came out onto their balconies and played music together. Could we do something similar here?

For our spiritual sustenance there are Masses online, where we can continue to embrace the Word of God. Pope Francis is streaming his morning Mass live each day, with full English translation (www.vaticannews.va) and our own SVD Parish in Alice Springs is streaming its daily Mass on Facebook (search for Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish Alice Springs on Facebook). There are many other resources available too. The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has compiled a list here: (https://www.catholic.org.au/prayathome). Each Friday our SVD website (www.divineword.org.au) posts a gospel reflection for the upcoming Sunday for prayer and reflection.

But let’s not forget those who have no internet connection, no iPad, no home computer, or are too elderly to know how to use them. We must not forget them. Perhaps we could ring someone in that situation and pray with them or read the daily gospel with them.

In short, our hope remains in Jesus always, but especially in turbulent times. We are still called to love God and love neighbour. We just have to think of some new and creative ways to do that in our current circumstances. Love will find a way.

Please be assured that you are in our daily prayers. Our SVD priests are continuing to celebrate private Masses and we are offering them for you, our friends and partners and mission, as well as for the end to this virus, for our leaders who are having to make such difficult decisions, and for those who are suffering or dying.

Yours in the Word,

Fr Asaeli Rass,

Provincial.