The Gospel for today is that of the bent over women Luke 13:10-17. I have often thought about this woman who for eighteen years had not been able to look people in the eye but only saw their feet. What a trial for her. She didn’t know what her neighbors even looked like. Perhaps, she could identify persons by their voices or their walking pattern. As I was thinking about this woman’s life, I thought that I have no personal experience like this. Then the last year at a new parish came to mind.
I was hired to do the RCIA, to create a program to welcome and instruct inquirers into the Church community. I was very excited by the prospect of using the skills that I had from other such assignments. After gathering a team from this parish, the virus took off and precluded our meeting in person.
Some team members suggested that we begin RCIA via Zoom. I wasn’t sure that this would work for this program with a goal of intimacy in creating a community to support those on the journey to becoming a member of the Church.
As the weeks passed and we talked of Jesus and focused on our connections with him and with one another, we become very aware of one another. We grew in understanding of each one of the team and the inquirers. We opened up our hearts and our lives as we looked for ways to express what it means to be a Catholic in the shadow of the Corona virus. We reached out to each other virtually without the distractions of setting up chairs and providing food and drinks. We learned of the heart of the matter which is Jesus within each of us.
It is true that we had each become an inch and a half square on a flat screen but the words and love we shared as we spoke of our commitments and our relationships with Jesus were very moving and inclusive.
In so many ways the Corona virus had bent us over and blocked our view of one another in a community circle, of sharing an evening together. The virus made it impossible and dangerous for us to touch and even share the same space, physically. But as is suggested of the bent over women, Jesus’ presence on our journey into Christian community made it possible for us to touch through heart prints, to embrace through the language of the Gospel of love and to be present in mutual desire to be Church for one another. We were able to recognize each one’s voice as it clearly spoke out of Jesus’ love felt over the years and translated into heart meeting heart.
So, our journey began as did that of the bent over woman. And it ended as did hers did as well with the love of Jesus offering healing and new life.