Twilight Twitches

Dear Family,
fetscher...that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the body to risk the aches and coughs of ubiquitous COVID or to take up Masks against a sea of skeptics and by opposing, end the creeping habits of non-presence. No more; and by a caring, to say we bear the challenge and the thousand natural shocks.

There’s a good chance Shakespeare is spinning somewhere. Hamlet Act III, scene 1 has been scared. In the original, Hamlet bemoans his state but acknowledges that the alternative might be worse.

I leave it to you to decide where you are in the scheme of things. To Come or not to Come is something I’ve been thinking about a lot. For me, the question is not whether people should come to Mass if they have concerns about COVID-19. That’s an issue that good common sense can settle. There are going to be different answers for different people in differing situations. That’s what the Archbishop said in his letter to us about Sunday Mass obligation.

Here’s the thought I have been ‘pondering:’ How easy will it be for someone to become comfortable with not coming to Mass? Only God knows how long it will take to eradicate COVID-19.

We are already finding our way back to the Church, inch by inch. However, our numbers indicate that there are still many who are not ready to come back. Since May 31st, when we gathered again, our attendance is averaging 141. In 2019 it was 319 for the same period, a drop of 55.7%. (By the way, amazingly, the collection for the same period is only down by 9.9%. I can’t thank the regulars enough including the “mail-ins”.)

As I said, there can be many good reasons for holding off on returning. My pastoral concern is that there is a very fine line between needing not to come, and not needing to come (anymore.) Habits can be virtues and habits can be vices.

I want to make a suggestion for those who can’t come yet. Do something out of your ordinary routine. For example, go and find the scriptures readings for Sunday, sit down and ask yourself, “If I had to preach on these readings, what would I say?”

To help you do that I highly recommend going to <onlineministries.creighton.edu>. Then, click on Daily Reflections. You will find a link to the scriptures for each day. You will also find great little meditations. My point: replace one virtuous act with another.

Another concern I have is receiving Holy Communion. If you really can’t come to Mass, I believe we have a system that will allow us to get Communion to you while observing all the cautions that need to be observed. You only need to call. We will try our best to navigate all the tricky seas of distancing and masking and washing.

As I write Sally is deluging the Gulf coast. I can’t imagine a storm barely moving at 2 mph and surging all that water continuously. Every week we pray for protection against hurricanes. As I’ve said before, even as the storms spare us, I ache for the people in the paths of the storms that don’t come here. I’m sure we all know people in those paths. I have a niece in Walton County on the beach.

I might be opening Pandora’s box with these next words, but given the storms in the east of our country, and the record breaking fires in the west, I wonder just how long it will takes us to become more concerned about the effects of the way we live. Climate change is very real. In Laudatio Si Pope Francis wrote, “(Our earth) now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.” Lord, open our ears.

As we hope in the Lord, I’m yours
sign frjim

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