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England: Mass from Arundel Cathedral Offered for NHS and Social Care Workers

‘Know that Christ Jesus is with you and in you in all you do’

“Know that Christ Jesus is with you and in you in all you do,” Bishop Richard Moth said in his homily at the Mass for Carers, live-streamed from Arundel Cathedral on April 30, 2020. He applauded all those who care for the sick in hospitals and care homes, as well as family members who care for loved ones at home and all those who support communities, parishes, and schools at this difficult time. “Our presence on the streets is a very effective expression of solidarity and this Mass is the offering of the greatest prayer that we have for them,” the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton said.

At this “challenging moment” for the whole world, he reflected on how “such a time prompts fundamental questions: How can I best support my family? Is my job at risk – or where next for those who have lost jobs? Why has all this happened? Where is God in all of this?  Why is a loved one sick? Why has a loved one died? For those working at the front line in our hospitals, care homes, and communities, there may be little time for reflection, but the worries and fears will, I am sure, be there – resurfacing in the occasional quieter times.“

He went on to say, “We grapple with the reality of illness and suffering in all their forms. Death is sometimes seen as failure.  Thoughts and questions are, I suggest, a reaching out, a searching, even a prayer – even though the answers may not always be very clear to us.”

Even in the darkness, there is always a glimmer of hope, “There is life in death, light in darkness. He understands and when we cannot find the words to express our prayer, the Spirit prays in us in a way that can never be put into words.”

The live-streamed Mass was offered for NHS and Social Care workers, those who are sick and their families. This Mass was the second in a series of special services to be celebrated by a different Bishop, in a different Cathedral, each week.

View Mass Here

Bishop’s Homily

Today, as we celebrate this Mass together, we are praying very specially for NHS and Social Care Workers, those who are sick at this time and their families.  After this celebration, I am sure you will be leaving your screens to join in clapping for our NHS and Care Workers.   Your presence on the streets is a very effective expression of solidarity and this Mass is the offering of the greatest prayer that we have for them.

Our whole world is living at a very challenging moment.  We are in the midst of a pandemic and for many people such a time prompts fundamental questions: How can I best support my family? Is my job at risk – or where next for those who have lost jobs? Why has all this happened? Where is God in all of this?  Why is a loved one sick? Why has a loved one died? For those working at the front line in our hospitals, care homes and communities, there may be little time for reflection, but the worries and fears will, I am sure, be there – resurfacing in the occasional quieter times.

Human suffering is a great mystery and will always raise questions for us.  We grapple with the reality of illness and suffering in all their forms.  Death is sometimes seen as failure. Thoughts and questions are, I suggest, a reaching out, a searching, even a prayer – even though the answers may not always be very clear to us.

As people of faith, we believe in a God who is with us in every circumstance of our lives.  Jesus Christ is God-with-us.  He suffers.  He dies – the lamb that is dumb before its shearers, as we heard in the first Reading this evening.  He rises from the dead.  There is life in death, light in darkness. He understands and when we cannot find the words to express our prayer, the Spirit prays in us in a way that can never be put into words.

In today’s Gospel, from the 6th Chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of Himself as the Bread of Life.  He is always with us, walking with us.  We see Him truly present in the Eucharist and he feeds us, sustaining us on our journey.

The presence of Christ, all that He has done for the world in his Passion, Death and Resurrection makes possible something that is truly wonderful.  We see Him in others.  In our hospitals and care homes, in our houses where the sick are in our care, there lies a capacity for a wonderful encounter.  The carer, the healthcare worker, the parent cares for Jesus Himself in the one in they serve: “Insofar as you did this to the least of these, you did if for me.”  The one who is sick is experiencing the person of Christ in those who care, for all that is good comes from God and there is more good than can be described in our hospitals and care homes and family homes, perhaps especially in these difficult days.

May those who are sick at this time know the comfort of the Lord’s presence through the care of all around you and the support of the world’s prayers.

To all who work in caring for the sick in hospital or care home, to family members caring for loved ones at home, to all who support our brothers and sisters in these difficult days across our communities, in our parishes and schools  I say this: know that Christ Jesus is with you and in you in all you do.

About Jim Fair

Jim Fair is a husband, father, grandfather, writer, and communications consultant. He also likes playing the piano and fishing. He writes from the Chicago area.

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