Never permit me to be separated from You

As Catholics, we aim to keep holy on the Sabbath by attending Mass. The Mass also provides us the opportunity to praise, worship, receive the Eucharist as a community and remember Christ’s love and that He died for us.

Mar 21, 2020

By Dr Adrian Lee Yuen Beng
How should we feel about the two week suspension of weekday and Sunday Masses? How did we react towards this news? Did we ironically proclaim “Alleluia” or “thank God?” The suspension of Masses due to the Covid-19 could be seen as a test of faith for many of us.

Should no weekend Masses mean the freeing up of that precious one hour in the weekend? Plus no need to spend time getting ready, fussing over kids, looking for parking, what to eat after mass, afraid of catching Covid-19, etc?

Or does no weekend Masses make the heart sink, knowing that there would be no receiving of Christ in the Eucharist? The answer lies in our hearts.

In faith we believe that God is omnipresent. As Catholics, we aim to keep holy on the Sabbath by attending Mass. The Mass also provides us the opportunity to praise, worship, receive the Eucharist as a community and remember Christ’s love and that He died for us.

Perhaps this could be the first time ever in Malaysian history that the celebration of Masses in churches does not have the congregation present. This suspension however provides us with a good opportunity to reflect on the following:

Firstly, remember that God loves us and would never abandon us, even in difficult times. With technology, He has provided us with another platform for Sunday Masses.

Using our smartphones and com puters, we are able to virtually attend, “watch” and participate in a Sunday Mass. Via social media, we unite as a community by sharing information and links about spiritual communion and scheduled virtual Mass times.

Secondly, we are reminded about the might of God and that He completes our limited capabilities and vulnerabilities as human beings.

During this moment of difficulty and helplessness, we are reminded that we need to turn and return to God in prayer, to ask for His protection and blessings. At the same time, we need to do our part to protect ourselves by practising proper hygiene.

Thirdly, we are reminded that in Malaysia, we are blessed that we are able to freely attend weekend Masses, whether virtually or physically.

In certain countries, Masses are prohibited due to religious persecution or restricted online access. Let this be a reminder of our freedom to practise our faith and religion and how this is something that we have been constantly taking for granted.

Fourthly, this is also a time for us to start practising proper social media etiquette, awareness and literacy as we are constantly swarmed by information and disinformation.

When receiving messages on Facebook or WhatsApp, be critical about its content and do not forward them instantly. Take the time to verify its information with the proper channels and only forward those that are really necessary.

There is no need to forward every message we receive for this could cause the spread of unnecessary, irrelevant and even incorrect information or even an overload of information that could become the cause for possible panic or chaos. Delete fake messages and hoaxes.

Lastly, let this be a time to be kind to one another and to support each other’s faith. Let us look at one another and treat each other as Christ would.

Moments of crises are when we witness the best and the worst of humankind. In the quest for survival and moments of panic, we have witnessed unpleasant episodes of hate, xenophobia and selfishness taking place in other countries.

Let us remind ourselves about the need for compassion, love and understanding towards others. Let us be like Christ in the way we think, act and react in these trying times. It is difficult indeed but perhaps there is a greater reason why this is occurring during Lent.

Ultimately, we continue to pray for one another to remain unharmed and for this episode to pass. We long for the day to be physically present in the church to celebrate Mass and to receive Christ in the Eucharist again.

As Catholics, our journey in life doesn’t end on earth as we look forward to be united with our heavenly Father and His hosts of holy angels and saints. Let us continue to pray for His blessings remembering that He would never permit us to be separated from Him. Amen.

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