One of the things I am enjoying about Sundays at the moment is the opportunity to “visit” friends around the country as they say mass.
Last Sunday, I visited a friend of mine from this Diocese who in his homily preached about change. He remarked that things have certainly changed in recent weeks but, as we start to ease some of the lockdown restrictions, suggested that we might start to think about the future.
The words, “The new normal” is a phrase which is bandied about a lot these days, but what does it mean?
I’d say it’s about taking the learning from what we’ve been through to help guide us into whatever the “new normal” turns out to be; and to help us do this, we have a key word to use as our lodestar: Love.
Jesus gave us two great Commandments, “love God and love your neighbour as yourself”; and last Sunday my friend of mine used the word “Love” as a mnemonic to provide a framework in which to start thinking about a more positive future. He suggested:
L – We need to listen and learn from one another about what we might want to keep from these past weeks – maybe to continue to offer care and support to one another via phone-calls, or WhatsApp groups.
O – To observe what is happening around us; and to discover those things which bind us together, as a worshipping community and more widely with the community in which we are set.
V – To value the community we serve, thinking about what is the best thing we can do for others in our context.
E – To enable one another to show God’s love to those around us.
Let us use this time to start to think about how our lives, both individually and as church communities, can bear witness to the hope that is in us, so that we can draw those outside our churches into a deeper understanding of God’s love for all people.
My thanks go to Fr Alan Swanborough, former Priest in charge at St Blasius, Shanklin, for providing this week’s gospel reflection.
With my love and prayers,
The image is “Ascension” by Giotto di Bondone (–1337) – From the Scrovegni Chapel collection, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Giotto_di_Bondone_-_No._38_Scenes_from_the_Life_of_Christ_-_22._Ascension_-_WGA09226.jpg