Holy Mass on the Fifth Tuesday of Easter
Homily by Fr. Bejay P. Namuag, OP
Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Manaoag,
12 May 2020
Magandang Umaga po sa inyong lahat.
The other day I had a chat with my brothers at home in Davao and they were telling me about our Lola who is so sad because for the past months, there were only very few who visited her. This is of course due to the prevailing situation that we are in now. My brothers told me that they did try to explain to my Lola about the Quarantine but it seem that it was difficult to her to understand, it is hard also for us that we are not able to see our Lola frequently but since we care for her, we need to endure the pain of being away from her.
Showing that you care or you love a person in the time of pandemic is very interesting, the distance and the no contact rule somehow just does not immediately feat to the conventional image of what loving and caring is. We were used to seeing love as touch, as embrace, as kiss, as being close to the beloved. Now, showing love is being away from the beloved, putting barriers from the beloved. I remember my brother and his wife telling me that whenever they come home from work, they would not immediately go to see their daughter even if they know that their daughter Lily would be happy to see them. there were even times that my niece was already crying but she’s already crying because she sees her parents but she is not allowed to be with them. Such a painful scene and yet, we call it an act of love.
Our experience on this time of quarantine and lockdown somehow is teaching us one of the realities of Love and that is it is encompassing. Love knows no boundaries that even if we are far from each other and we do not see each other, love is still present. No matter the distance, no matter the long-time of waiting, love is there. This is an important lesson in life because for us Christians, this is somehow our reality with our relationship with God. There seems to be a distance between him and us and yet, his love for us connects that distance and makes us closer to him. It will also be our love for him that will continuously unite us to his loving presence and that way of the love to God is the way of Jesus.
This is what we can see from our readings today. In the First reading we hear the Apostles encouraging Christians to be firm in their faith to Jesus, making them realize that even if it seems that Jesus is not around, especially in times of troubles, he is actually present through the Holy Spirit who he sends because of Love.
In the Gospel, Jesus talks about his departure, that is, his passion and death on the Cross. The disciples were feeling the anxiety of being away from their Master, so Jesus was making them realize that what he is doing is an act from his overflowing love. Jesus wanted them to see that he will always be with them because of his encompassing love, a love that knows no distance, a love that is rooted from his love for the Father.
We are now called to love like Christ, an encompassing love. In this time of difficulty, I think we truly love shown our care for each other amidst the distance. But when this pandemic end, the challenge of loving remains. When lockdowns are already removed, the lockdowns of many societies like war, racism, hatred, crime and other acts that shows no care remains. This needs love to heal our society and we Christians, the Disciples of Christ are called to be in the forefront, in the frontline of this mission. It is good that we are able to show our love to one another at this time of pandemic but it will be unfortunate if all of this will be lost once the pandemic ends. It will be so ironic that it is when we are at a distance, love is so evident and when the distance is gone, love is more difficult to find.
To assure the disciples of Jesus’ love for them, he told them that he will be coming back for them, breaking that distance between them. I think, this should be our quest in the end that we would bring each other closer with love and break that distance that separates us from one another. And when we are able to break the distance between one another, we then bring each other closer to our God.