This line from the prophet Joel is an invitation to turn back to God, perhaps after a person has been away for some time. It also calls to mind returning to the obligation for weekly Eucharist. More than a year ago, for the first time in our lives the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday was removed. This was not an easy decision, however a wise and necessary one that served to protect people and save lives. How important it was for the Catholic Church to stand in solidarity and take action for the common good.
We are nearing the time when the obligation to gather as community and pray together the Mass will return. For many this will be a blessing, a return to a normal that was put on hold for far longer than we ever imagined.
Others may have become comfortable with praying the Mass via live-stream and appreciated not having to leave home to do so. And for some, the live-stream Mass provided an opportunity to return to Mass, in a safe and private way, without judgment. I have heard from more than one person that praying the Mass at home with family has been a rewarding experience which prompted many conversations about the Scripture Readings and homily providing a new experience of faith that otherwise may not have happened. For that we are grateful.
So, when we are able again, and even beckoned by our Church to re-instate the obligation to be at Mass in a Church on Sundays and Holy Days, will you join with your brothers and sisters in faith? The Church in her wisdom understands the needs of all people to have a relationship with God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit AND to be in relationship with one another. Our experience of lived faith is made stronger as we come to know one another. Jesus gave us the Greatest Commandments, Love God, and Love Your Neighbor – we need these relationships in our lives that we might become all God intended we be.
It might be good to engage in conversations with family and friends about living once again the obligation to weekly celebrations of the Eucharist. Prepare your hearts, ask God for guidance and strength to commit once again to a practice that is sure to provide a blessed experience for all who participate.
Lord be with us each day as we make efforts to deepen our relationship with you and our brothers and sisters in faith. Guide us in our commitment to weekly celebration of the Eucharist when we gather as one body in Christ.
Bless us all with the grace to live as your disciples in relationship with you and your people. Amen.