Catholics Don’t be Despondent, Be Catholic
By Zusipe Batyi – The rapid spread of the Corona Virus has brought great panic in many parts of the world. This has led to government, business and religious authorities to take precautionary measures as means to control the virus. These measures encompass allowing people to work from home or take rigid interventions and isolate those who have been affected by the pandemic.
The Roman Catholic Church is not immune to this tragedy . It is for this reason that the Church in some parts of the world and Dioceses has given a directive to suspend public celebration of the Holy Mass. Holy Mass lies at the centre of the lives of all Catholics. This aspect of our faith does not only distinguish us from our brothers and sisters from other churches, but it is what unites the whole Church and gives us strength.
But is Mass the only thing that makes us Catholic? I do not think so. During Holy Mass we are equipped with the word of God which we engrave in our minds, lips and hearts before the Holy Gospel. Thereafter, through the Holy Eucharist we are given our spiritual bread and drink. It is through these two parts of the Mass that we should draw strength during these trying times. We have the word of the living God which gives us hope and we partake in the Eucharist which gives us strength to keep moving regardless of circumstances. At the end of the Mass by the words of the priest, “Mass has ended go in peace,” we are all commissioned to go preach the Gospel to all people of God. And with many of us attending Mass once or twice a week these words remind us that being Catholic stretches beyond just the celebration of the Eucharist. Therefore, being Catholic is not an event but a way of life.
This means that being Catholic is not limited to the confines of the Church building but it must be how we carry ourselves, live a life of prayer and also love the most vulnerable. It is for this reason that we must not be despondent but be catholic, in the face of the corona virus. When we attend Mass we are like soldiers that are trained for war, never knowing when we will be attacked but assured that we must be ready. Now that the war has come, are we going to lose hope, are we going to question God who has given us all these wonderful gifts that have prepared us for this moment. No we cannot!
This is the time to stand in the frontline and give hope to all people in particular those who have been tested positive of the virus. As Catholics we are called to stand tall and go to all places and preach the Gospel, through showing compassion, solidarity and unconditional love.
The serious challenges of this pandemic come at a time of lent. A period of prayer, fasting and giving. It is common cause that the time comes with its own challenges that sometimes shake our faith, whether these challenges are faced by individuals or communities. Each year we observe lent and make adjustments in our lives so as to renew ourselves spiritually and strive to be better Christians. It is during this time that we seek God and find comfort in him as we prepare for the memorial of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is through this mystery that we commit to changing our ways and help Jesus Christ carry His cross. Maybe to many of us Catholics we do this every year and Easter has become just a tick box. But what will happen now that Easter will be different for many of us? Are we turning our backs on Christ or are we going to be Catholics and carry each other’s crosses?
We need each other. We must all do self-introspection and ask the difficult question, what does it mean to be catholic without Holy Mass? I want to implore all Catholics and Christians to use this time to show love and preach the Gospel. We cannot lose hope now. By the power of the Holy Spirit the church has survived through the centuries. In times where it was faced with what could have destroyed it, it revived itself and emerged victorious. Let us continue praying and ask all the Angels, Saints and Mary our Mother to intercede for us so that we may not fall victim to this virus.
God bless you!
Zusipe Batyi – Proudly Catholic