Easter in the Desert
Dear my brothers and sister-in-Christ,
We were so blessed: we had Mass every day of the week. We could go for confession at our convenience because there are 33 churches in Singapore which are easily accessible to all. Especially in our church of the Blessed Sacrament, the priests were available to hear your confession before Mass during weekends and after Mass during weekdays. But now, Mass has been suspended because of the corona virus pandemic. This time of uncertainty, when we are not able to attend Mass, go for confession or be present at meetings and have no clue when all will resume again, has had given big impact on our spiritual lives. It is like being in prison or even in the desert, isolated, far from one another (social distancing). We have to refrain from hugging or even shaking hand to avoid being infected. I was so sad when I was not able to hug one of our communion ministers whose son recently passed away at a very young age because of cancer.
As a priest, I miss the face-to-face contact with my parishioners. I don’t know how things are for you. What about your faith? Are you still praying? Are you experiencing joy and happiness or sorrow and grief? I have really lost contact with you. Hopefully you are blessed with good health and having a joyful time with your family. Hopefully you still have faith and believe in God.
Perhaps some of you are suffering from one kind of sickness or another and unable to get any spiritual assistance such as: Holy Communion, the anointing for the sick or the sacrament of reconciliation. I pray for you everyday during a private Mass together with my fellow priests. We don’t forget and will never forget you.
It is the Easter season now. We celebrate Easter this year without Mass. It is as if we were in the desert. Perhaps, now we are paralysed physically because we can do nothing, but don’t forget that we are not paralysed spiritually. Let’s do something meaningful in this time of distress. It is a good time for family togetherness: join the Mass streaming, pray, read the bible, have meals and fun together. We are also still able to engage with our fellow Catholics and friends using new technology like the zoom application. We can use that opportunity to read the Bible and share our struggles in faith and life with our fellow Catholics in the light of the Gospel.
Though our contact with others is limited, we can still do something good for others. You can call your elderly parents and neighbours and ask after their well-being. When they need help, give them a hand. Help those who are not able to walk and go to the market to buy groceries. We are like a drop of water in the ocean. Let that small drop wet the desert. If each one of us becomes a drop of water in the desert, the desert will become an ocean. That is the way to celebrate Easter in this time of the corona virus pandemic.
Together with my fellow priests, we pray for you everyday that God will always bless and protect you from every danger and fill your hearts with His love and strength.
Fr Johan SSCC