COVID has been with us for a year. A whole year! By now, everyone knows at least one person who has had COVID or who has died from it. It has changed our ways of life dramatically. It has especially had a profound impact on the way that we worship. Private prayer has seen an increase, and that is both good and bad. Remember, the reason we go to church is not because we love the building. It is not because the music is wonderful. It is not because we like the priest. (Though all of these things can enhance our experience of worship.) It is not even because we like the people who go to our particular church. It is because we need to be a part of a community. We get a sense of that community when we participate in online forms of worship – watching pre-recorded or livestreamed Mass or other prayer. But nothing can take the place of gathering together, praying together, being together.
Now, a year into COVID, we have the option of three vaccines, which will soon be available to larger portions of the general population. Soon, this will allow us to gather together safely once more. We need to remember Jesus’ words, “Be not afraid.” We would also do well to remember something that our former Bishop, George Niederauer often said. “Jesus did not say, ‘Go take a hike, in remembrance of me.’ He said, ‘Do this [offer the sacrifice of the Mass] in remembrance of me.’”
Consider this your invitation from Jesus and from the Church as a whole to return. Come back, and be fed, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The door is always open.