He who does not gather with me scatters. (Luke 11:23)
In the Gospel for today, Friday, October 9, 2020, Jesus was casting out demons, and the people questioned the source of his authority. He says, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
Unfortunately, demons are still at work in our world, wreaking division, hatred, immorality and abandonment of the practice of our Faith. The polemics of the upcoming election spreads disagreement, division, and mistrust. The Pandemic also fosters separation of peoples and makes it difficult to gather in His name to celebrate the Mass, and to practice our faith.
While the obligation to attend Mass is still dispensed, it doesn’t mean we don’t need to care for our souls and protect ourselves from the power of the demons. Attending the Mass each weekend (or daily, as many of you still do!) is an important part of our Catholic Faith; when we gather in his name, we are strengthened in union with Jesus through our union with his shepherds, the priests; we are strengthened by the Word of God; by the support of others who gather with us in faith; and by our receiving the Holy Eucharist, the Body of Christ.
We remind you again that we have precautions in place to protect you from the spread of the virus, including the requirement of mask wearing to enter the church, plastic shields at the Communion stations, and now we have outside seating with TV viewing at the 9:30 AM and 1:00 PM (Spanish) Masses.
For those that decide, for health reasons, to stay away from the church at this time, we remind you to at least be watching the Mass on Social Media (we offer it on Facebook live) and sharing in a “spiritual Communion”.
Regarding the election: we are all entitled to our opinions. As Catholics, when considering who to vote for, we are reminded to follow our consciences, albeit, informed by Biblical principles and Catholic teaching, and considering all the issues at stake. We have the duty to respect the opinions of others and treat all people with dignity and respect, whether in words and in actions.
“Don’t let your Guard Down”
With the Pandemic, people were told months ago to wear their masks, keep social distancing and wash their hands frequently. As time wears on, it’s easy to let our guard down and get lax about these practices. When we get lax, the virus can gain freer access to more people and cause more sickness and death (and prolong the shutdown).
Similarly, in this same Gospel, Jesus warns about getting complacent in the faith. We must remain strong lest evil spirits come to make a worse condition of us then we may have had before the Pandemic! So, again, let’s keep our spiritual guard in place by attending Mass regularly if you are able, or watching the Mass online, maintaining a daily prayer routine, reading the Bible and other spiritual books regularly, and putting our faith into practice in our daily lives.
Fr. Brian Hayes, Pastor
St. Catherine Laboure Catholic Church, San Diego