“When can we have Mass?”
The good Archbishop’s response “Be patient” to the oft repeated question “When can we have Mass?” has not been able to satisfy the “thirst” of the people for the Eucharist.
A quarantine was imposed by the government to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which among other prohibitions of movement, prevented Christians and worshippers of other faiths alike from gathering for worship and prayers.
The word “quarantine” is derived from Italian words quaranta giorni and means “forty days”. The practice of quarantine began during the 14th century in an effort to protect coastal cities from plague epidemics.
Our quarantine started shortly after we entered into the desert experience of 40 days of Lent, and we have since been in this desert for more than 40 days. We still do not know when we will fully exit from it.
We should be looking forward to finishing this desert season as we have been fasting from the nourishment of the Eucharist especially, as well as the graces of other Sacraments.
We cannot get used to being a “virtual Church”. We are meant to gather together. Our sense of belonging to the Catholic community requires us to come together to pray and celebrate the sacrifice of Mass.
The reception of the Eucharist cannot be a “virtual experience” forever. The online Mass is merely a “stop gap” and not a substitute for our parish Masses. We should not get used to live streamed Masses. We should long, even more, to receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist in the gathering of the people.
With the steady decline of new COVID-19 cases, the churches and chapels are poised to return to the public celebration of Masses under prevailing stringent restrictions (SOP). As the restrictions allow for a small number of persons to attend Mass, many will still not be able to attend Mass yet. Until the restrictions ease, we have to content with live streamed Masses to provide for our spiritual nourishment.
In order that the sacrifices made during the preceding months would not be in vain, and to avoid the risk of a second wave, we must be concerted in our efforts to adhere to the SOP put in place for the reopening of the churches/chapels. If it means putting up with the little inconveniences, or small sacrifices, of using face masks and social distancing so that others may be protected, our response should be modelling a message of selflessness.