Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Christ to them. With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing. For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice, came out of many possessed people, and many paralyzed or crippled people were cured. There was great joy in that city.*
The word ACCORD stands out to me this morning. “One Accord.” I have to look it up. Harmonious, consistent, with power. They paid attention. Wow that doesn’t happen today very often – I’m constantly multi-tasking. My brain is like in five places at the same time. But these people of Samaria “heard and saw” Philip doing signs. They believed and great joy came to them that day.
Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. All the earth is to have joy! That’s the Psalm refrain today. That cry to earth was the joy our little rural town felt this past week as Father G said come to outdoor Holy Communion, right after our live-stream Mass. It is big news! It is Jesus in the most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist! No it wasn’t being physically in front of Him on the altar in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. But last night, when I stood, sat and knelt outside the locked church and watched the Mass on my phone, I was there. I heard and then I saw and yes! Great joy was felt! I was present, participating in yet another way than in my home, when I was making a spiritual communion at the conclusion of a live-stream Mass. I was going to be able to receive Jesus’ body, blood, soul and divinity within 15 minutes after Mass, humbly, reverently and I was filled with hope. There is good in the midst of this pandemic. God is here, He’s there and He will always be here! I realized I heard and saw this electronic Mass in a different way. A feeling of shame came over me and I wondered why I couldn’t have felt this joy with a spiritual communion at home. Perhaps I did that first week, grateful for Mass to continue online even if in this difficult medium. But as time moved on, my attention waned. I didn’t have the influence of other holy people giving God all praise and glory. It was me and my house and all it’s beckoning to books, chores, food and the like.
Now I hear Mass will be drive-in. Say what? That is an interesting thought but we don’t have that large of a parking area. But I’m also thinking, so what – I’m already excited about it. I now need to be busy praying for the Holy Spirit to infuse wisdom to those figuring it all out, keeping everyone safe as we begin to exit our cocoons. It’s a big deal – what was separated will now be joined together! Like the marriage of a man and woman, Christ the bridegroom will be with His church – us! Yes, I was always there spiritually but who doesn’t want to physically be with the person they love? I’ll take a visit with them over a phone call any time. But I am also And I hope people understand the importance of having both receiving the Eucharist and participating in the Mass joined as one. I want to understand this well, to share it and as Peter said in the second reading, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence.”** I am still saddened by so many who are not receiving, not going back to Holy Mass – and are given no light to see when they will. For whatever reason, they must offer this separation longer than me. But I want you to know, whoever you are that are reading this, I am offering up my communion for you, for your waiting and praying and trusting in God that He has not left you an orphan. He is preparing each of us to come back into this special communion in His time.
We have now experienced a time in life that I call “the great pause.” God allowed it. Perhaps it was a test for me to examine what in my life is most important. Did I draw to Him in my isolation? Did I find holy, good, charitable things to do even in the lock-down? What did I fill myself with and how? Did I pray for the sick, dying, those in financial crisis? Did I reach out to those alone and in need of a friend?
The Gospel today said “I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”*** Oh Father God, I pray I have pleased you with the time I have used in this shelter in place period. I pray you see my heart and great love for you, forgiving my failures with your great mercy. I thank you for revealing yourself to me in many ways – relationships and reflection – all leading me through this forest so that I can find the light of a new day. I continue to discern the direction to your most Sacred Heart. Help me to help others as I journey to you. As you prepare to go away and send the Holy Spirit, may your grace pour down upon all of us in this world – especially those we hold dear and love unconditionally, as you love us. Let me be in one accord with you, recognizing those who suffered much and also who have died; may they be known to you for their great offering and surrender. May you, my Lord and my God, be always praised.