Dear Friends in Christ,
In the first reading of today’s Mass, the LORD says through the prophet Isaiah:
I create Jerusalem to be a joy
and its people to be a delight;
I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and exult in my people.
Over the centuries, Christians have understood Jerusalem to refer to the Church, ever since John, the visionary of Revelation, described the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven. John also heard a voice saying, Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away. (Rev 21:3-4).
What is the city of God? It is a place where God and His people live together in joy. During this time of social distancing, we are told not to gather together with friends, family, fellow workers, teammates. Everyone’s health, we are told, depends on maintaining physical separation. While doing everything we can as the earthly city to stay home and stay apart, the Church must do everything she can to stay close together. Whenever we join in prayer in the name of the Lord Jesus, even if separated in space, we are united in the Lord, as he promised us: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt 18:20). Whenever we say to God with sincerity, “Thy will be done,” we are joyfully united our will to His. This is what makes us citizens of the city of God, the holy city, the eternal Jerusalem. This is what makes us truly Catholic Christians. God’s word tells us that, if we do this, God will be with us, and rejoice with us.
We have received thanks from so many people for the livestreamed Masses during the past few days. Our plan for Masses Monday through Friday this week (3/23 to 3/27) is to stream the Mass live at 6pm every day from St. Mary Church in Marion. Last week we had planned to celebrate the Mass at Sacred Hearts Church on alternate days, but we decided to remain at one location since we have been ordered to refrain from non-essential travel, and we need to set a good example. Members of the parish staff at Sacred Hearts and St. Mary will be working from home during this time.
Sincerely Yours, in Christ,
Father Thomas Buffer, pastor