No-one is saved alone23 April 2021
The distillation of the Christian life is love. This is why, in discussions being held during the coronavirus outbreak, particularly by people who don’t take part in the life of the Church, they urge us to demonstrate our love and to stay at home, not go to church, not take Communion, so that we don’t unwittingly spread the disease to other people. Indeed, if they see believers going to church or asking to take Communion, they lose no time in informing the police, so that these ‘dangerous people’ can be cleared from the streets.
‘If you’re a Christian, show your love in this way’, they exhort us. They make us feel guilty. They point out that it’s selfish behavior to want to mix with other people because that carries with it the risk of death. They talk about our houses as being like the catacombs of the ancient Church, where the Christians of the time hid from the Romans. They forget, however, that the whole point of the catacombs was so that people could meet together. They also talk about internet parishes in which communication will be virtual and distanced. They forget, however, that the Church isn’t a club for the exchange of ideas, which can function at a distance, but a Eucharistic assembly at which we’re invited to consume the body and blood of Christ, to become one with Christ and each other. They stress that not taking Communion doesn’t matter; that in any case we’re all sinners, so we deserve a penance in order to bring us to our senses, as if Holy Communion is only for saints and the sinless. And they say that Christ wants us to save the lives of others, not to put them in danger, forgetting that, in the society we live in we’re always meeting people in places judged to be of vital importance, without this drawing accusations of lack of love, providing we respect certain particular precautionary measures.
‘No-one is saved alone’. The society which has cultivated individualism as an attitude to life through consumerism, the worship of lust, the dissolution of marriage and demands for rights, hypocritically discovers a need for individual and social responsibility. It talks about ‘social distancing’, not in order to build post-crisis communities of people who can meet in a spirit of responsibility, mutual support and love, but where the triumph of individualism can flourish: continue to live as you have been, provided you don’t harm anybody else; in any case, a community always has a risk of infection; other people are your fears and they’re yours.
Mutual support and even sacrifice are rejected by the powerful people at the top, because they might deprive them of their profits.
The Church community is an assembly of people who have decided to love, to surpass their limitations, to believe in Christ, to share with others nourishment, hope, themselves, and to become one with them in Holy Communion. Measures taken as an aid to preventing harm to others are one thing; paranoia induced by the spread of fear is another. No-one’s body is invincible. A community may exist temporarily via the internet and from home. But it can’t be built through isolation nor by individual survival. It requires co-existence. Let’s pray that this temporary situation doesn’t become the rule. But we live the Truth.