Hello again. I wanted to send you some more things to help you during this difficult time.
1) Elke sends us the Sunday playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkzaCrU7PUC_Ev1vJ0FtiX8asqeIUnmXd
2) Also, one of our parishioners in an epidemiologist, her name is Ilona and she has created a website in English that we may wish look at as it has some links to useful sites and trustworthy information, as well as some articles she is writing on different issues.
Isn’t that great? We have some real talent at OLM. Thank you Ilona!
3) Thanks again for your donations. We don’t know how the future you will be, but almost surely we will be broadcasting the Mass in the near future because of social distancing issues. One of our parishioners asked me to continue to put in the bank details because she keeps forgetting (both she and her husband are working and felt bad that she has not made the time to do a transfer). So, I reprint them here. We need to guarantee the future of OLM.
Account holder name: PARROQUIA HABLA ING. N. S. MERCED MADRID
Bank Details: IBAN: ES07.0186.5001.64.0511473809
Bank Name: Banco Mediolanum
BIC (or SWIFT): BFIVESBB
Finally, I send you my simple reflection for tomorrow’s Mass.
Be blessed and strong,
Forty Days and Forty Nights
A reflection by Fr. Ron
We all know the stories in the Bible about Noah’s ark and how it rained for forty days and forty nights, how Moses stayed up on Mt. Sinai for forty days while receiving God’s law, and how Jesus fasted in the desert for forty days. We also know that Lent lasts forty days. There are many other examples of the significance of the number “40.”
The Bible scholars may not agree on all the details but most would say that when we see the number “40” used in the Bible to describe a period of time, we are being told that something extraordinary and definitive is happening during the time.
We have been in confinement for more than forty days and forty nights! First, I would like to say congratulations to all of you! You deserve a round of applause! It has been a time of much confusion and uncertainty, the experts are still investigating the Coronavirus, and no one knows what the future will hold. What is certain is that things will NOT be the same, at least for quite some time.
Did you make any goals for yourself? I have. For example, I have five brothers and two sisters, and one of my goals was to catch up with each and every one of them. Some of us have drifted apart. Well, I have almost achieved this goal. My relationships with six of my siblings have become closer and stronger. Still, one brother still has not picked up the phone and I am not even sure why. I know he is fine physically but he has been struggling personally for years. Even so, I believe my effort is worthwhile.
At the same time, I have also reconnected with many friends from my past. Some of whom I have not spoken to in over twenty years because of the hectic life I have been living. We have shared very long and delightful conversations and plenty of good laughs while reminiscing about the past. There are even plans for reuniting in the future, assuming we will be able to safely travel again one day!
Two of Jesus’ disciples were traveling to a village called Emmaus. They were disillusioned and completely shattered after the crucifixion of the man they knew as friend, teacher, spiritual guide, and leader. They had left everything, absolutely everything, behind in Jerusalem: the apostles, their hopes, and their dreams for the future. Then, unexpectedly, they were reunited with Jesus once again and they were ecstatic! They thought that all was lost, but now they had a reason to hope again. And even though Jesus vanished before their eyes, and left them once again, they still returned to Jerusalem to share the good news. He was alive and everything was going to be well.
How are your forty days plus going? Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Are you setting positive goals? Sure, it is important to eat well, do exercise, and take advantage of the free time, but how are we doing with our relationships?
In the end, is that not all that matters? As the old saying goes: No man is an island. Are we patching up old fights and feuds? Are we bettering our relationships with family, friends, God, and even the world? Have we reached out to our neighbor in need? Have we reached outwards or retreated inwards during this time.
I was shocked to receive a phone call from a priest who I did not get along with very well. He did not care for my pastoral style and for many years he made sure to let me know it! However, a few days ago, he called to ask for my forgiveness! I was shocked because I know that he is a very proud man and that it was not easy for him to do. Even though I had many memories of hurtful past criticisms, my immediate response was simply to return the favor and ask him to forgive me as well. It was like a reflex and I even surprised myself! Immediately, I noted his sense of relief, and at that moment, it was a great mutual experience of letting go and letting God. I felt that I was freed of some painful past memories and that the Holy Spirit was definitely at work!
We still don’t know how long these “forty days” will last. Nonetheless, big things are happening all over the world. Big things can also happen in our lives if we focus on our relationships. Which ones are the most important? Well, the ones that the Holy Spirit is whispering in your ear. God is still at work in the world no matter what the prophets of doom say.
Will I ever be able to speak with that one brother of mine who doesn’t seem to want to talk with me? I don’t know. I hope so. But no matter what, I know that I will have tried. You see, life is not always easy, relationships are complicated, and the world is confusing but the most important thing is that He is alive and all shall be well. If you don’t feel it now, just keep believing and give it a little more time.
Good News From Around The World
The Mental Health Foundation, a charity with a mission to help people understand, protect and sustain their mental health, have put together some top tips for supporting those that are struggling.
- Call a friend that you haven’t spoken to for a while
- Tell a family member how much you love and appreciate them
- Make a cup of tea for someone you live with
- Arrange to have a cup of tea and virtual catch up with someone you know
- Help with a household chore at home
- Arrange to watch a film at the same time as a friend and video call
- Tell someone you know that you are proud of them
- Tell someone you know why you are thankful for them
- Send a motivational text to a friend who is struggling
- Send someone you know a joke to cheer them up
- Send someone you know a picture of a cute animal
- Send an inspirational quote to a friend
- Send an interesting article to a friend
- Contact someone you haven’t seen in a while and arrange a phone call
- Spend time playing with your pet
- Reach out to call a friend, family member or neighbour who is experiencing loneliness or self-isolation
- Donate to a charity
- Lend your ear – call a colleague and ask how they’re finding it all
- Give praise to your colleague for something they’ve done well
- Arrange to have a video lunch with a colleague
- Send an inspirational story of kindness from around the world to someone you know
- Donate to foodbanks
- Offer to skill share with a friend via video call – you could teach guitar, dance etc.
- Offer support to vulnerable neighbours
- Offer to send someone a takeaway or a meal