I was quite taken by the Prophet Amos in Sunday’s first reading:
Woe to the complacent in Zion!
Lying upon beds of ivory,
stretched comfortably on their couches, (Amos 6:1,4)
Do you remember those early days of COVID when we went into to lockdown mode? I have vivid memories of my neighbors who every night at 8:00 would go to their windows and balconies and applaud the doctors and nurses at the hospital across the street who were serving the sick and dying around the clock.
I also recall that I did not know what ‘binge watching’ was until those days! For some, that time of lockdown and isolation led to some behaviors that we / they are still trying to break – like renewing our energy to get off the couch and out of the house to take a walk, to reengage socially, or, more importantly, to get back to Mass – in person – to actually join my family of faith and receive Christ in the proclaimed Word, to experience again his presence in the community of faith, and most especially, to receive him in his Body and Blood that is the Eucharist.
Obviously, the Prophet Amos was speaking to a different time, people and circumstance. Never-the-less, the image of getting off the couch seems quite appropriate as a modern day symbol of complacency that we need to gently challenge.
So, maybe you are one of those people who need the encouragement to make Sunday Eucharist – at Church – in person – a priority once again. Or, maybe you are one of those parishioners who is to be actively inviting others to return to Sunday Eucharist.
This is a gentle reminder as well that in the Archdiocese of Seattle, the general obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation was reinstated last December 8, 2021. So, I nudge and invite all who are still ‘away from home’ to renew again your faith and Eucharistic life. Draw near to Christ through the reception of the Eucharist!
I shared those thoughts this past Sunday at Mary Queen of Peace parish in Sammamish. I was there to preside at the installation of their pastor, Fr. Chad Green. Fr. Chad was the ‘administrator’ the past three years, and this summer was given the canonical title of ‘Pastor’. I could tell by the warm reception of the people during Mass, and afterwards at the gathering, they have fallen in love with their pastor, and rightly so!
Congratulations, Fr. Chad! Keep up the great work of being a selfless servant of your people. May the Lord continue to bless your priestly ministry and all the holy people of God at Mary Queen of Peace!