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Father Alo writes ...


Instruction to “Stay Home” by the government has great impact on people’s lives; socially, economically, physically, psychologically and spiritually. For those who for various circumstances are always out of their homes, this is a very challenging time. For some probably this a great opportunity to slow down and spend time with the loved ones. Some of the parishioners wonder what I am doing during this time to occupy my time at home. Apart from saying daily masses, I work at my office as usual to attend to different things such as reading guidelines from the Archdiocese for Liturgy of the Holy Week, completing enrolment forms for our children, supervising people who are installing the new sound system in the church, phoning some parishioners (I have a list in front of me. However, I haven’t had any chance to call everyone), shopping, cooking, doing my laundry and reading.   At the moment I am in the middle of reading a novel titled: “Not Without My Daughter”. I suppose some of you might have read this novel as well as watched its movie version. It is based on a true story. I would like to give you the short summary of this book:   “Betty Mahmoody (an American woman) and her husband Dr Sayyed Bozorg Mahmoody (and Iranian who did his medicine studies in USA). After living sometimes in USA, the couple and their four year old daughter Mahtob, went for two weeks holiday in Iran to spend sometime to know Moody’s family. He swore that they would be safe. They would be happy. They would be free to leave. He lied. Betty soon becomes disparate to return to the States. But Moody and his often vicious family, had other plans. He didn’t allow them to go back to USA. Mother and daughter became prisoners of an alien culture, hostages of an increasingly tyrannical and violent man. After long and several attempts, they finally escaped…..”     The living conditions of Betty and her daughter Mahtob were miserable even worse than a prison. Staying too long at home we can feel board sometimes and that can cause anxieties.  However, our homes are indeed not a prison. It is a place “to be”. It is a place where we live, love and being loved, nurture and being nurtured, challenge and being challenged, etc. Your home may feel like it’s not the best place to live, however wherever you go, you probably miss being home soon. In the middle of uncertainties and maybe anxieties, some people miss going to Mass at the parish. They miss the community and communion. I can feel that people miss “their other home”, the Eucharist. Live streaming Mass can be a solution for us in this very difficult time, but some people shared with me that attending online Mass is not the same as us physically coming to attend Mass. Desiring of the Eucharist and each others presence indicates that we are all “at home” with each other, especially Jesus, whose suffering and death we are celebrating this week.   Even though this week we will not be able to attend the celebration of the “Passion of Christ” on Palm Sunday he assures us that he is “at home with us”. As he entered into the city of Jerusalem and was welcomed by the people of Jerusalem, he would like us also to welcome him to our homes and our hearts and journey together with him along the way of his suffering and our suffering world. Lift up your “palms of enthusiasm, hope, faith and love” to welcome him into your home. Enjoy his presence at your home. He said: “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Let us “be at home and be happy”.


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