Third Sunday of Advent 13 December 2020

What is normal and, for that matter, what is Covid-19 normal? It is a bit like “Who are you?” and possibly there would be more answers (and subsequent questions) than John received. Likewise, there are just as many anonymous “We must take back an answer to those who sent us”, Pharisees today! 

This past week has been a rather fascinating taste of what was and what might be, in my life. You may enjoy looking back on your week…and ponder the experiences.

I began with the celebration of the first big congregation at one of our large Churches, St Kilian’s in Bendigo. Congregation very quiet, no coughing. Not many children. The week ended with celebrating Mass in a small rural setting for the first time since March. Interspersed were two very large funerals, a solemn Ordination, a most joyous wedding. The deacon had been waiting for five months (after seven years of study) and the young couple, on hold since Easter. In between, Christmas gathering with my Team and a review of the small Cardijn group in Bendigo. 

The palpable joy of being together was evident at all occasions. There were abundant shakes of the hand, hugs and kisses. People were delighted to be together and to make contact. Touch is important for us humans. “Come Thomas, place your hand in my side, in my wounds, and believe.” 

Isaiah’s words came alive for me.

 +Good news for the poor – many felt the poor that they experienced, lifted by being back in familiar                  surroundings. 

 +To bind up hearts that were broken – reunions of grandparents with the especially new grandchildren.

 +Liberty to captives – for some, the veil of fear had been lifted.

 +Freedom to those in prison- the prison of separation.

 +Proclaim a year of favour…what proclamation do we bring to our world and families this Christmas
 after this experience? 

Many have rediscovered the pleasure of the garden, some revived the ancient craft of knitting. Families have often reconnected, and the boon of Zoom has eased burdens.

Isaiah also said today “For as the earth makes fresh things grow, so will the Lord make both integrity and praise spring up in the sight of the nations.” 

If we dig a bit deeper, it is happening before our eyes. 

Let’s embrace the good that has come our way and not return to the suffocating demand of recent times.

Mons Frank