Very early, at about 5:30 AM that morning, I got up, hurried with my morning chores, and got myself ready. I never wanted to miss any bit of the Mass. This quarantine style of Mass with my Bishop on Pentecost 2020 was the first of its kind in my life as a Christian. As compared to the past, I would follow a one-week Pentecost revival program which usually ends with a big Pentecost Mass. This time instead, my Bishop was on TV with a multitude of Christians watching all over the world. It made me believe that “With God everything is possible”. I preferred the screen in the basement because it was the largest in our home. I started following the Mass deeply as though I was in Church with no knowledge that my daughter was observing me and taking some photos with her cell phone.
After the Penitential Rite and the proclamation of the word, came the invocation of the Holy Spirit in a song by the singing minister. As I kneel listening keenly and reflecting on the lyrics of the song, I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit right in me. Then I prayed to ask the Holy Spirit to also touch my family, friends, and Christians all over the world, who are having the same quarantine experience as I do, and bring a powerful solution to the crisis brought upon human beings by the CoronaVirus.
The Bishop proceeds with a very lively sermon filled with the spirit of Pentecost. He invites everyone to be open and receive the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit as of the first Pentecost for the renewal of the whole world. I was filled with awe as I sat listening to his heart-searching sermon.
The beautiful ending of the Bishop’s sermon, “COME HOLY SPIRIT! COME HOLY SPIRIT! COME HOLY SPIRIT!”, was another spirit-filled and touching moment. It was like the Bishop just pulled the Holy Spirit out from heaven to earth and I felt His powerful presence in the room.
Kneeling before the altar at Consecration. as I see through the TV, I surrendered myself, my family, and the whole world to the Holy Spirit. As I followed the Eucharistic Prayer, I was touched that much was being said about the Holy Spirit that I understood more than before.
Then came the moment of Spiritual Communion when I recited the prayer with passion, opening the door of my heart to let Him enter, as the Bible says “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will come into him and will dine with him, and he with me”. Rev 3:20
During Announcements, I decided to celebrate Pentecost with my Bishop in this way. At the end of the Mass, the announcements made by the Bishop were filled with good news. He told Christians how gradually the Churches are going to open their doors again for Christian worship as a community. I remember that one of the definitions of the Church is “A Community of Christians” and not individual Christians in their homes.
Though Christians were not in Church physically, they were Spiritual as I could see the Bishop blessing us as he exited the physically empty Church. A song came to my mind that says, “One thing I ask of the Lord, one thing I long to live in the house of God every day of my life”. Yes, this longing eats me up, and I thought that surely every true Christian at this moment of the pandemic when the Church’s doors are physically closed.
I prayed and said that so long as the Spirit lives and moves and renews the face of the earth, so will Mother Earth continue to produce her fruits and take care of her upspring, even though she mourns and groans, waiting for the right moment that she will open her mouth and swallow the ugly Coronavirus, leaving no trace of it, as the Bible says, “The earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon spewed out of his mouth”. (Rev. 12:16)
I thought, why do we have to go through all this quarantine thing? The blame is all on the devilish pandemic. But, I also remembered, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God”, not even the ugly Coronavirus for “… in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us”(Rom. 8:35-37). I keep trusting in God.