Home » Fr Simon writes: The Gospel is Hope for these days of ‘Lock Down’

Fr Simon writes: The Gospel is Hope for these days of ‘Lock Down’

My dear sisters and brothers,

Finally, we had the announcement last night that the UK version of lockdown was beginning.  Despite the sense thatwe’d had that it might be coming it was still a shock when it finally came.  Talking to a lot of you over the last few days, and several of our senior citizens today, there was the sense that it was like a film playing out somewhere else, a fiction that would never reach us, but now here it is.  Reflecting that, the constant phrase on my lips at the moment seems to be ‘stay safe’.

In the Gospels of yesterday and today we have two men having two very different reactions to being healed by Jesus.  In yesterday’s Gospel the man born blind understands that Jesus is the Good News, and both defends and worships him.  In today’s Gospel, largely because he’s lived the last 38 years ‘locked away’, by the pool at Bethesda, the man doesn’t recognise Jesus as the Good News, lightly telling the authorities about him and seeming to take his healing as his right.

As we spend the coming months in greater isolation let’s be like the first man, holding onto the knowledge that Jesus is the Good News.  However we might feel emotionally and psychologically, whatever we might feel physically, hold the image of Jesus before your mind’s eye as the one who will carry us through, bringing his strength and healing.

A few years ago now, I was reflecting on Jesus calming the storm.  However, as I looked at the boat of my life, Jesus wasn’t calming the storm, but sitting next to me in the stern, with his arm around me, riding it out with me.  Jesus will come to each of us in different ways in our different needs: to some he will strengthen us emotionally; to others he will heal us physically; but for all of us he will be riding out the storm with us.  Trust in that truth, in the Good News and – as Blessed Julian of Norwich said – ‘all manner of things will be well in the Lord’, even the battle that we find ourselves in today.  Stay safe and keep the faith!