Brother Paul’s Thoughts and Musings Regarding the “Signs of the Times”

Sunday, June 13, 2021
The Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

On Tuesday, June 1st I viewed the WCPO (Channel 9) news at 11:00 P.M. The newscast began with a joyous proclamation that in one hour, the State of Ohio was lifting the vast majority of the state’s COVID restrictions. They went on to summarize the restrictions which would cease to be in effect. The joy and excitement presented in this report had the gusto of an “Easter Alleluia” and I was prepared to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir break open in glorious song.

As I listened, I too was filled with joy. Life is returning to normal to a great degree and my/our freedoms are expanding. I would assume our parishioners were equally excited about these developments. So many were ready to discard their masks, and in their own circumstances, to increase their ability to do various things and come-and-go more freely for the first time in about fifteen months.

At the same time, the words of Cain to God after he murdered Abel in the Book of Genesis cropped-up in my mind: “..am I my brother’s keeper?” (4:9). With my recaptured freedoms, what are my responsibilities to those close to me and those I come in contact with? This pandemic, though being less of a concern still reeks in our society and some degree of caution and responsibility needs to be observed.

After this “exile” which COVID brought about, we all may have the desire to “run wild” and totally go back to normal, and perhaps, only be concerned with ourselves and loose track of those around us. Our thoughts may be something like: “I have freedom now and I will do what I want!” and maybe disregard my responsibilities.” I would suggest that God reminds us to be concerned with those around us, living the Gospel message and not putting anyone in harms way regarding this pandemic. The virus is still present, and we must remain vigilant regarding the surfacing of any variants which could put us back to “square one.”

Through it all, we need to remember that we and our agendas are not the only ones, but we all remain connected and a part of a local and global community. As a parish embracing Marianist spirituality, may we never forget this fundamental aspect of our lives-that we have connection with those around us both morally and spiritually. Let us embrace the general mindset of the community in Jerusalem as described in the Acts of the Apostles being: “Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common…..There was not a needy person among them,  for as many owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what they sold” (4:32,34.).

In this time of expanded freedom, let us celebrate, but in a true community spirit, keep in mind the need to care for one another.