WE in lockdown; JESUS, not locked out!
Context – Corona Virus. April 2020
(Can be led by the head of the family or any other family member. Should best be done after participating in a live streaming Eucharistic Celebration on Sunday, 19 April 2020. Assemble together around your family altar or one set up for the occasion.)
This year as we celebrate the presence of the Risen Lord among us, we come together in fear, yet knowing that(but) the Risen Lord can pass even through closed doors. We are living behind doors shut because of our fears, doors shut because we are afraid to face a world infested with the virus. We have shut ourselves in to stay safe.
The Risen Christ has broken through the doors of our home. He is ALIVE, HE IS HERE.
(Pause and experience the comforting presence of the Risen Christ.)
Lord, here we are, out of breath, out of courage and almost out of hope, caught between the infinity of our desires and the limitations of our means. We are tossed about, torn asunder, pulled here and there, confused and exhausted.
Lord, here we are, in your comforting presence, sitting still and ready to listen to you. Open our hearts to your Word that we received in today’s gospel at the Eucharist we witnessed from a distance on our screens.
Lord Jesus as we begin our prayer, we realize that WE are in a lockdown, but you Risen Lord, cannot be locked out!
Word of God:
Prayerfully read the Gospel of the day, 2nd Sunday of Easter. John 20:19-31.
(Pause after the Gospel)
Twice in the text of today, we see that Jesus enters into the disciples’ presence even though the doors were closed. In fear have we closed the door of our hearts as well?
Have we isolated ourselves in our fears? In the fear of the Corona virus we have taken precautions to isolate ourselves. In our isolation, we get lost in loneliness, but Jesus has entered our hearts, the people we love are around, even though we maintain social distancing.
As Jesus enters passing through closed doors, his greeting, recorded three times in this text is: PEACE BE WITH YOU. Can we hear this greeting of peace from the Risen Lord? In the silence
of our hearts, let his words echo in our hearts all through our days of lockdown,
PEACE BE WITH YOU.
The Gospel says: Jesus entered into their presence and BREATHED on them. He breathed on them the gift of the Holy Spirit. God breathing on creation and on people is a sign of the gift of life. As we sit with our doubts and fears, let us breathe in deeply the breath of the life, the breath of God’s Spirit which is being given to us, as individuals and as a family.
St Thomas, the Apostle of India, came to BELIEVE. By believing, he had life in Jesus, so powerful a life that he came to the ends of the earth, to preach the gospel. We pray in our hearts, ‘Lord I believe, increase my belief’.
Prayer – Praise and Thanksgiving
In our prayer Lord, we realize that like you, we want to lift up our hearts in praising and thanking the Father, before we ask for anything. You are not just a dispensing machine to whom we come only in time of need. We want to begin by thanking and praising you for all the positive values that are emerging in our lives and in the world as a result of this pandemic.
Praise Song for the Pandemic
Response: after each prayer you may respond: Thank you Lord!
Praise be the nurses and doctors, all medical staff who at personal risk, reach out to people to offer their services , for lives saved and lives lost, and for showing up either way, R/
Praise for the farmers, tilling soil, planting seeds so that food can grow, an act of hope if ever there was, R/
Praise be the janitors and garbage collectors, conservancy staff, the municipal health workers, the grocery store personnel, and the truck drivers driving tirelessly through long quiet nights, those manning the essential services. R/
Give thanks for bus drivers, delivery persons, postal workers, and all those keeping an eye on water, gas, and electricity supplies. Blessings on our leaders, making hard choices for the common good, offering words of assurance, R/
Celebrate the scientists and medical research personnel working tirelessly, to understand the thing that plagues us, hoping to find an antidote and a vaccine; give thanks to the journalists and persons working in the media for keeping us informed and abreast of the latest developments. R/
Praise be the teachers, finding new ways to educate children from afar; blessings on parents holding it together for them, the family together in this crisis. R/
Blessed are the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, all those who worry for about their health; We praise and ask you to bless for those who stay at home to protect them, R/
Blessed are the victims of domestic violence, those on lock down with abusers, the homeless and refugees, R/
Blessed are the ministers, counsellors and therapists of every kind, bringing words of comfort to those in distress R/
Blessed are the ones whose jobs are lost, who have no savings, who feel fear of the unknown gnawing at their very existence, R/
Blessed are those in grief, especially those who mourn alone; blessed are those who have passed into the Great Night, R/
Praise for police personnel and fire-fighters, paramedics, and all who work to keep us safe; praise for all the workers and caregivers of every kind, R/
Praise for the sound of notifications, messages from friends reaching across the long distances, give thanks for laughter and kindness, R/
Praise be our four-footed companions, with no forethought or anxiety, responding only in love, R/
Praise for the seas and rivers, forests and stones who teach us to endure, R/
Give thanks for our ancestors, for the wars and plagues they endured and survived, their
resilience is in our bones, our blood, R/
Blessed is the water that flows over our hands and the soap that helps keep them clean,
each time a baptism, R/
Praise every moment of stillness and silence, so new voices can be heard, praise the
chance at slowness opportunity to slow down the pace of our lives. R/
Praise be the birds who continue to sing in the sky awake each day, praise for spring and summer flowers that break into colour; praise the air clearing overhead so one day we can breathe deeply again. R/
And when this has passed may we say that love spread more quickly than any virus ever could, may we say this was not just an ending but also a place to begin. R/
Petition and Blessing (as in the Ritual)
My brothers and sisters, as we ask the blessing of the Lord on this family, we must remember that a way of life that is a true communion can only endure and grow if the Lord is its source. Let us therefore call upon him saying: LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER
Lord Jesus Christ, through whom every family is like a building constructed by the Holy Spirit to become a temple of your glory, grant that this family of yours may be bonded together in your name. May it be an unshakable foundation especially in these times of sickness and suffering. For this we pray. R/-
With Mary and Joseph, you sanctified domestic life; teach all who live here in this home that self-giving by each and all members will build up our life as a family. R/-
We pray that as we live together for such a long period during the lockdown in close proximity, we may learn to respect all members of the family, female and male and learn to serve each other with love and respect. R/-
Closing Prayer and Blessing (by the head of the family, man or woman)
(Use the Holy Water that was blessed last year, you may add some fresh water to the Holy Water bottle. The head can bless the house just as is done by the head when a member of the family gets married.)
Blessed are you, O Lord. In the Passover of the Old Testament you kept unharmed the houses of your people that were sprinkled with the blood of a Lamb. The fulfilment of your signs is the true Paschal Lamb, the Son you gave to us.
He was crucified for us and raised from the dead, so that we might all be filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Bless +++ this family and this home, so that the joy and protection of your love may gladden the hearts of all who live here. We ask this through Christ, our Risen Lord. Amen.
(Holy Water is sprinkled on the entrance door and on each member of the family and inside the whole house.)
Closing Hymn (known to the family in the family language)
Fr. Cleophas Fernandes
Snehalaya Family Service Centre