21 May, Sunday — On Mass

7th Sunday of Easter

Acts 1:12-14
1 Pet 4:13-16
Jn 17:1-11

All these joined in continuous prayer…

One of the unintended consequences of the last 3 years of dealing with COVID-19, has been a reluctance by many Catholics to go back to mass in person. Livestream Mass has been a game-changer for a lot of us. I will be the first to admit that it was my spiritual lifeline during the lockdown, and it continues to be on the days when I cannot face the world. It has opened up a world of worship that I never fully tapped into prior to COVID-19. In the darkest days of the lockdown, Livestream Mass reaffirmed my faith in the vastness of God’s Holy Church. It was, and continues to be, a huge timesaver, from a commuting standpoint. And when you log on to mass on Livestream, you have the ability to attend mass anywhere in the world, to participate in worship at any parish that offers a live link. So, for 2 years, I resisted going back to mass in person and chose to log on to Livestream instead.

And then, in the summer of 2022, I returned to in-person worship for the first time since COVID-19. I cannot say what compelled me to do it. It simply happened.

The thing about being away from something familiar for a while is that when you return to it, you notice things you had previously taken for granted. I was awestruck by how beautiful a church can be, with its soaring spires, or how the volume of a space affects me. I had forgotten how much I loved the smell of frankincense, and how its scent made me ache with longing. I marvelled anew at worship sung in Latin. Most of all, I had forgotten the emotional power of shared prayer; I had forgotten how participating in mass can be deeply moving. 

And that is what is missing when we log onto Livestream Mass, instead of showing up in person at church. While Livestream Mass is still mass, worshipping in person calls upon ALL our senses. We give thanks, we praise, we pray, we sing, we kneel, we give and we receive peace and blessings, with every part of ourselves – our minds, our hearts, our bodies; all our senses are engaged. We are wholly a part of what is happening. There is something in that, in the physical act of being there, standing in the presence of God. It took being away for a while, for me to realize the value of it.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Sharon Soo)

Prayer: We pray that more will return back to Church, to experience anew the beauty and power of Mass.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who made Livestream Mass possible during the dark days of COVID-19 lockdowns; we give thanks for all who have made the return to in person Mass so meaningful.    


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