How I See the ‘New Normal’ Church
For the past three months, we have all begun getting used to this “new normal”. Frankly, we got a rough start, but this new way of life is indeed becoming normal for many of us.
For me, like many, it was a strange end to our Lenten journey and start of Easter.
But as governments around the world threw their people into the deep end and expected them to “swim”, the Church too needed to find alternative ways of ministering and continuing the work of Christ in the World.
As priests and religious scrambled to continue catechesis and ministry through Mass and various other forms, their creativity and that of many of the faithful shone through. From priests using water pistols filled with Holy Water to bless their congregants to drive-thru Masses and confessions.
We are also seeing some priests celebrate Mass in one part of the world while their musicians are proclaiming the Word of God through song on a completely different continent.
But my family yearns for fellowship again as a Church community, to sing in unison with the congregation, and to receive our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
But we have begun accepting this new way of doing things.
We now get to “visit” different parishes in different parts of the world each day. We are growing in our faith and relationship with God as we dig deeper into the scriptures and listen to some exceptional homilies.
From Ireland to Australia to the US to the Philippines and South Africa, Jesus is being brought to his people.
The old way has lived its course, and this new way will begin to pave the path to how we will continue to grow and form as a Church. It might not be as a drastic a change as Vatican II was, but a radical change it should be.
The old way had left many of us complacent, doing the same old same old, but this new way which initially left many of us uncomfortable, got us off our pews and move us to take the Word of God outside the confines of the church (buildings).
Post-lockdown, let’s be apostles
As we begin to imagine at how a post-lockdown Church would look like, we need to discern how and where God wants each of us to be used in the establishment of his Kingdom.
This apostleship goes well beyond the call of our ordained ministers–the responsibility lies with each of us.
We are all called to take the Good News to all the World.
We are all called to proclaim the Word of God, through how we live our lives and interact with one another.
And we are all called to grow in faith, love and charity.
And through this faith to grow in a stronger relationship with Jesus.
In the simplicity of our worship now, let us begin building the foundation of the Church which exists within each of us.
And as we all grow in a closer relationship with our only way to the Father, may our hearts be erected in love and may joy course within our souls.
And as that joy oozes out from within each of us, may compassion touch the lives of our brothers and sisters who are suffering at this time, those who have lost their jobs, those who are lonely, those who are sick.
Even though we are told to stay home (and we should) and to adhere to stringent measures, Our Lord calls each of us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, tend to the sick and be “fishers of men”.
As we allow the Holy Spirit to exist within each of us, may he make us a stronger Church community. And may we, as we begin to fathom what a post-lockdown worship community would look like, emulate that of the early disciples of Jesus.
May small faith-sharing groups flourish.
May we, as families, stream our daily Masses if we can (if we can’t go to actual Mass, of course), and may we pray together as a community through the various channels afforded to us.
May we also embrace this change and adapt to this “new normal”.
For many of us, this is different, it is uncomfortable, but may we get out of the boat and walk on the water with Jesus.
And as that water rebirths us as Church through baptism, may the flame of the Holy Spirit rejuvenate a more active, alive and refreshed Church as we continue establishing the Kingdom of the Father on Earth.
This is my vision.
May we continue to pray: “Father, you lead and I will follow. May your will be done and not my own.”