So this weekend, we will be opening up the churches of St Philip’s and St Clare’s for Sunday Mass, but restricting attendance for each Mass to 30% of the capacity of each church , in accordance with the requirements of the Ontario government emergency regulations, to which are added guidelines from our archdiocese.
Certainly, the extent of the coronavirus has caused much fear, anxiety and uncertainty in our midst. So, it is a great consolation to hear Jesus speaking to us ,his disciples, in our gospel this weekend, and telling us :“Do not be afraid” In fact, so much is he wanting to reassure us at this time, that he repeats the words “Do not fear” , no less than three times in our short gospel passage. On what should we base our assurance that we need not fear anything ? According to Jesus in our gospel, it is based on the value we have in our heavenly Father’s eyes. When Jesus compares us to the value of a sparrow sold in the market for a pittance, and says that we are worth more than many sparrows, it doesn’t exactly give us a value equivalent to priceless treasures. The point is that God pays attention to the lowly sparrow, and God pays attention to all who acknowledge Jesus Christ in their contacts with other people.
When our true value is found in relation to Jesus Christ and not in what we are worth in terms of dollars, we need not fear the rich and powerful of the world. It may seem, considering the scant regard that our political leaders have given to us as practising Christians during the last three months of the virus, that they do not consider us as being of much importance. But their view does not matter in terms of the lasting things of this world. ‘Fear no one”, Jesus says, except the one who can rob us of our real treasure, our true value, by separating us from Jesus Christ.