Sixth Sunday of Easter
“I will not leave you orphans.” What soothing and comforting words from Jesus to his disciples. During the time of Jesus, being an orphan was a very difficult state for a child to be in. As children, they couldn’t work, they had no status in society and they were totally dependent on their father for food, accommodation and protection. However, as orphans those things were totally taken away. They had to work even if they were inevitably exploited. They were at the mercy of other people, mostly distant relatives if they were to be afforded accommodation and protection.
In these days of COVID 19, this is our experience as well. We have observe and realise that whenever there is a great tragedy, the number of people who go to church to pray or to attend Mass goes up. I believe that this will also be the case especially now that the COVID 19 pandemic has affected the whole world. Our normal lives have suddenly turned upside down. Things that we take for granted like going to work every day, shopping for clothes and shoes, going to the cinema, eating at our favourite restaurant, going to the local sports stadium to watch a game of footy and other activities that we normally enjoy were suddenly snuffed out. People who used to work in the tourism industry, airlines, restaurants, sports stadiums, department stores, and others were suddenly out of a job. So for many of us, it is natural to go to church, pray, meditate and try to find the sense of what is happening not only in our country but throughout the whole world. Unfortunately, even the very place where we find solace is now closed too for fear that the virus would spread more in the community and inevitably more people will get sick. So the more, we feel that we are abandoned, the more we feel that we are orphaned.
Yet, in the gospel for today, the promise of Jesus is that he will not leave us orphans. So, how could this be possible in this age of forced isolation and social distancing? Fortunately, God gave us a gift that we have truly come to realise the worth of during this crisis. Through the power of technology, parishes and cathedrals have been live streaming their Masses through the internet. One could even pick and choose where and when you want to watch a Mass through the internet. Also, parishes could reach out to people who would not normally go to Mass because they are sick and housebound and also to people who haven’t been in church for a long time. In my own parish here in Santa Teresa, NT. I live-streamed my Mass during the Holy Week and throughout this Easter season and on the average, I would get about 350 views through Facebook. Of course, one could argue that it is still different because we can’t receive the Body and Blood of Christ sacramentally as in a Mass at church. Yet, this activity of watching Mass at home has brought families closer by praying and participating at Mass together. So it is good to know that God has not made us orphans. God is still with us as he has promised all along. While we know that this is just a temporary thing and we’re still hoping for the day that we’ll all go back to church, still, it is another manifestation that God hasn’t left us orphans on the contrary, God has made his presence felt more intimately in the comfort of our homes.
That is why throughout this pandemic, we must never despair because God will never leave us. Our God has loved us so much that he will stay with us until the end of time. So as Christians, we must also do our part. Let us also be present to those who are feeling lonely in this time of the pandemic. Since the technology is now available, let us also contact our friends and family through video conferencing apps like Facebook and Zoom to be able to catch up with them and let them know that they are not alone in this challenging times. In places where restrictions on visiting people have eased, let us take this advantage to visit people as well. Let us visit people who are most lonely particularly those who are in nursing homes. Let us visit our friends and relatives who have been alone too. These people, like us, have suffered months of isolation as well.
The promise of Jesus to his disciples is that he’ll never leave them orphans. Jesus has fulfilled this promise to them. Maybe, let us also do the same. We have felt that Jesus never abandoned us, let us also spread this good news to everyone that Jesus is always with us, as we long for the day that our churches will soon open and we can come back to church not only to ask God something but more importantly to thank him for getting us through in one of the most challenging times in the history of humanity.