Kia tau te rangimārie ki a koutou
I have been surprised lately at how many people have been writing to me asking why we still do not have holy water in the fonts in our churches, why they are not able to receive Communion from the chalice or on the tongue, and why they cannot exchange the Sign of Peace by shaking hands or a hug.
We are in the midst of a world-wide pandemic; we know it is dangerous and deadly. In New Zealand we are relatively lucky, and I think very blessed not to suffer in the same way as many other countries are suffering. However, there is still the risk of the virus spreading and I believe we are obliged to take every precaution we can to keep others safe. Some have written to me saying that I have given in to a Marxist Government and that the pandemic is all a hoax. My response to them is always the same, we are obliged to keep everyone safe.
The coronavirus has dramatically changed our world and has altered the way we worship, but we are still able to go Mass and we are still able to receive Holy Communion. Because we cannot receive the Precious Blood at the moment does not mean that we are not receiving the Risen Lord in the Eucharist. Even if we were to receive only a tiny part of the host, we are actually receiving the whole Christ. It might help to remember the words of Pope St Leo the Great who, writing about the Eucharist, said, “Our sharing in the Body and Blood of Christ has no other purpose than to transform us into that which we receive.”
We are transformed into Christ himself. Remembering that and giving thanks for the gift we receive may help us to look for ways to keep others safe. The delta variant of the virus is rampant, not here in New Zealand, but it is easy to see that it would not take much for it to spread rapidly as it is in Australia and out of control in other parts of the world.
Please be assured that the measures we are taking have been recommended to us by the Ministry of Health and we have asked everyone to do this specifically to keep one another safe.
Remember too the words of St Teresa of Avila: “Let nothing trouble you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes. God never changes. Patience obtains all. Whoever has God wants for nothing. God alone is enough”.
Nāku noa. Nā