On being at home (COVID-19)

A homily for Mothering Sunday

And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. (John 19: 27)

Most of us are probably seeing a great deal more of our homes than we have been used to as a result of the present crisis. Whilst I appreciate that some people are routinely stuck within their four walls because incapacity and would much prefer to be somewhere else at least from time to time, home for most of us is a good place to be.

It is certainly better to speak of ‘staying at home’ than to use the official phrase ‘self-isolating’ with its overtones of being alone. Functional language can be useful, but it must never be used uncritically and will often need to be qualified. The Christian (and many of other faiths) will see a different perspective. Primarily this will mean recognising that God is present both within and without the walls. He is present in the world that he has made and is acknowledged to be so by those he calls to be his own. The faithful are called to prayer and service both of which are based on an appreciation of God’s presence which brings consolation and power as required. He is with you always.

On Mothering Sunday we are offered a timely reminder that at no time is a home a better place to be than when we have invited Mary, the mother of our Lord to join us and dwell there after the example of the Beloved Disciple. There may be a practical element in Jesus’ words from the cross, but there is also that deeper meaning as he sets Mary up as mother of the Church.

Three important things stem from this. First, this truth makes your home a holy place to be; a place where you can pray, serve and offer worship – even if you are joining in on the internet or radio. Secondly, Mary always joins you in your prayers so that you do not pray alone or without support and guidance. Thirdly, Mary always points you to Jesus which is why she is so often depicted in art as holding her son, either as an infant or in death. It is a timely reminder that Jesus is with you always.

Remember, especially during times of anxiety, that on the cross Jesus not only gives his life to take away the sins of the world, but arranges your adoption so that you can share his death…and his glorious new life…and be with him forever. May God bless you in the days to come. May Blessed Mary join her prayers with yours and may you be safe in your home…and hers.

Father Andrew Burton SSC