Mass for Laetare Sunday was celebrated from the KCLR studios at 9.30am on 22 March last. Bishop Dermot Farrell of Ossory preached the homily at the Mass.
During his homily, Bishop Farrell addressed the COVID-19 crisis. He said, “We are in uncharted waters – a place where we have never been in our lifetime, a place we could not have imagined a few weeks ago. We begin to appreciate anew what is essential in life. Indeed, we begin to appreciate why God had to come to us as one of ourselves, why the Word not only became, but had to become flesh.
“It is in this perspective that it is prudent, wise and necessary that we not gather in Church to celebrate our faith and receive the Eucharist. These extraordinary measures call us to re-discover the other ways we have to encounter Christ, ways which we’ve always had at our disposal, but which may have been beyond our horizon. It is a tenet of Christian faith that every person is a temple of the Holy Spirit and that the Lord dwells within us … As Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote,
‘For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.’
(As Kingfishers Catch Fire)”
Bishop Farrell continued, “In today’s Gospel story, Jesus tells his disciples that ‘it was not this man sinned, or his parents, he was born blind so that the works of God might be made manifest in him’ (John 9:3). God is not punishing us. A person who holds such views lacks faith and does not know the God who is the father of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Rather, such a view of God reduces God to a very powerful being, the celestial equivalent of the person who holds the view. Such a god is a god of darkness, not the God of Light. As we pray in the Creed, Christ – God’s Son – is God from God, Light from Light. In Isaiah, God says that he has cast all our sins behind his back (see Is 38:17). God’s abiding presence is not dependent on our remaining faithful to God. Ultimately, we are saved not because we remain faithful to God, but because God remains faithful to us. God remains faithful to that which He has created.”
In conclusion, Bishop Farrell said, “Some may describe the COVID-19 epidemic as apocalyptic. Properly understood, an apocalyptic view of the world is not a flight from the world, but is a way of coping with the world so that people can take stock of the traumatic situation they find themselves in, make decisions and take appropriate action. One thing we cannot take flight from is reality; we have to engage with the grim reality of the Coronavirus by assiduously observing the social distancing and other measures that have been put in place for our safely and the well-being of others. In the words of the Director of the World Health Organisation, ‘Let our shared humanity, be the antidote to our shared threat.’
“Eternal Shepherd, Lord of Life,
stay close to your people, as we pass through this valley of darkness.
Guide us, carry us, be our light and our strength,
the food for our journey, day-in-day-out.
You who are our home and our hope, for ever and ever. Amen.”
To read the full homily click here.