Ken and Bill recorded this episode from their respective homes because of the COVID-19 lockdown, and they shared a number of reflections about the crucial nature of the pandemic’s effect on the Church and the People of God. It’s both a great challenge and an opportunity. Testing new forms of community life, new uses of social media to convey messages of faith, treasuring the full beauty and power of the Lord’s real presence among his people in a time of distancing.
Fr. Stephen Hamilton in Oklahoma City has been doing a parking-lot Mass, which Ken has prayed along with via the internet livestream. Communication in the Church always benefits from creative, problem-solving thinking. Our incarnational faith challenges parishes and their pastors to shepherd each individual flock, to make sure that the community’s people are available to minister to each other, especially with the Blessed Sacrament. Some of this can be handled with the help of technology. But Pope Francis has pointed out that technology cannot replace the face-to-face celebration of the sacraments. As he put it in a homily during one of his Masses in March, the Lord calls us to “draw near” in the Spirit even in a time of “social distancing.”
Our faith needs to be lived every day and to be in dialogue every day with the People of God. The Church’s quick development and publishing of a special Mass in Time of Pandemic reflects a dynamic Church that is not simply like a museum, relying on technology and archiving.
In times of change and difficulty, the Lord can always help us see more than we saw before. Since “Love Always Communicates,” as per the title of this EncounterPoints series three, we see there is no replacement for the physical presence of Jesus Christ with His people in a combination of communication, community, and communion.