Sometimes no matter how good the directions are, even with GPS, we become lost and have no idea where we are going. In Vermont sometimes the satellite points just don’t show up on the high tech smart phone or other computer generated device and we haven’t a clue where we are and where we need to go to get to the destination. However, we can feel lost in other ways that are far less tangible but just as real and affect our wellbeing.
One of my favorite movies is Moonstruck. It’s about an Italian American family and how each member is kind of lost. The father is having an identity crisis and seeing another woman. The mother briefly invites a stranger to dinner. The daughter who is engaged falls for the brother of her fiancé who is totally lost after enduring an accident that severed his right hand. He is bitter and angry. The grandfather is put off by seeing his daughter-in-law walking with another man and then is totally confused when his granddaughter becomes engaged to the brother of the original suitor. Everyone’s disoriented and lost.
Yet in the end the husband and wife make up, the daughter is at peace because she now is marrying someone she truly loves: just another “average” American family.
In the Gospel for the Fifth Week of Easter St. Thomas, one of the disciples who would become the apostle, asks the following question, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Our Lord’s reply: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father.” The compass point, the true directional is Christ, period.
We are all experiencing a bit of an upheaval if not identity crisis at this point in time. Our routine and normal way of living has been upended. Most importantly for the Christian our normal Sunday routine has been interrupted. We may feel lost and not knowing where to turn. There are some good signposts to send us in the right direction. The Diocese of Burlington has many online masses and devotions to help us get redirected. But nothing substitutes for Mass in person: the physical presence of the Body of Christ with the priest who is persona Christi Capitis (in the person of Christ as the head).
As Catholics we understand the significance of the Incarnation of Jesus, the Word of God ever living ever took on our human nature and became man. He continues to be present among us in the Holy Eucharist. Even if we are not able to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion just being physically present before Him is never to be underestimated.
Yes we can pray anywhere and God can be with us, but Jesus desires greatly to be sacramentally present to us. It was for this reason that He suffered, died and was resurrected so He can give us a small portion His supernatural life now in anticipation of the fullness of His presence in us in heaven later. Starting Monday May 11th, the Churches will be opened at certain times for prayer (see St. Thomas and St. Mary’s websites).
He is the way, the true north star of our lives. He is the truth, in a world in which many no longer believe in an absolute truth that can lead us in the proper direction. He is the life, in a world that claims it is concerned about saving lives yet only those it deems valuable.
No, only Christ present to us can lead humanity to a healthy and sane existence. Although the precautions given us by the experts are important and we should adhere to them best we can, no facemask, no sanitizing wipe, no good hand washing technique, and no vaccine can prevent deterioration and healing of the soul.
While priests will still not be able to offer Mass and Communion, Jesus is still present to us. He longs for us and shows us this not only through His suffering and death, but also through His being present to us in Church in the tabernacle. Let us return to His presence after this extended period of absence asking for His grace and peace during this difficult time. Let us rededicate our lives to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament by going to Confession in preparation for Holy Communion at Mass in the near future. For if He truly is the way, the truth and the life and speaks through the priest, we need to open our hearts and souls and listen to what He requests of us, for He is always concerned for our spiritual condition.