My heart sank as we were told that the church must be locked up and closed to the world in the beginning of the pandemic.
I won’t lie; I instantly thought the Devil had won, and we had snuffed out the Light of the World to all who need Him.
Our churches had become silent memorials to what was. The global pandemic hit us all differently, but we all lost something. However, as we are reminded in these dark months, Christ still goes after the lost sheep and leaves the ninety-nine to chase after our hearts. Maybe a global pandemic is what the Church needs to shine His mercy to all.
We went through months of empty churches to now months of smaller gatherings with mask wearing, no handshakes of peace, no welcoming hugs, in a place where we are all seeking comfort. Yet, Christ still resides there.
It is still His home and His place to gather the lost. As we began to open the church again, we slowly worked towards giving people the opportunity to worship, to receive what they had lost, to welcome back our prodigal son. From the heart of disbelief came prayer of divine mercy, reaching to Saints of the past for guidance. We had time in solitude to simply ask, “Christ what do you seek from this lost sheep of yours?”
The answer was simple: be a light. Be a guiding light for the lost. We prepared for a night of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a night of the gathered young church, lighting candle after candle, and preparing the way for the Light of the World to enter into our cavernous church.
This was an opportunity to stay and keep watch like the disciples did for Christ on that fateful night in the garden. Just as the disciples did for Christ, a few faithful were keeping watch in Williamsport. Time passed, and it seemed that all the lost sheep we were seeking were still lost. The church only held the flickering light from candles, with the doors open wide, and Christ waiting to receive the world, and yet no one came to welcome Him. Although some peeked in to admire the beauty, that night the Shepherd of the World found only a small flock.
As Catholics we believe that the Eucharist is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. As Christ, in the presence of the Eucharist, shone on the altar, He welcomed home a lost sheep. I sat at the feet of Christ just praying for someone to show up to adore Him. Just as I prayed for the lost young church to return home, a man arrived. He was a stranger, welcomed by Christ, given a seat at sit at the table, and a place to talk about what was on his heart. This was an opportunity to be transformed by Divine Mercy. My prayer was that he left, after that night spent with Christ, with his own light to share.
We may feel as if our own lights have been snuffed out by a pandemic, by riots, protests, divides, or an election, when, in reality, we just need to be willing to shine a small light and allow Christ to be the Shepherd of our hearts, homes, country, and world.
Let your light shine to all who are lost, and when the prodigal son returns home, we “celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:32 NIV). How will you be a light?
The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed in this editorial do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of NorthcentralPa.com
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