“EVEN in the midst of our own isolation, we are not alone – that is a truth that can set us free,” St Stephen’s Cathedral dean Fr Anthony Mellor said in his homily at the 8am live streamed Mass.
He said in these days everyone was “feeling the heat of the fire”, referring to the first reading of the Mass (Daniel 3:14-20,24-25,28).
He said everyone was “feeling the pressures that this moment is putting upon us, we’re feeling it in terms of fears for our collective health, we’re feeling it in terms of social contacts and our way of living”.
“We’re feeling the heat in our own sense of economic difficulty.
“It’s at that in these moments (that) we’re most inclined to worship a false God, (we) will return inwards on ourselves and come to place our own needs and our own wants as the highest priority.”
He said Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the first reading felt the heat of the fire, but they remained faithful.
“They were companions in the midst of the furnace by a mysterious figure,” he said.
“As we feel the heat of this moment and we’re tempted to close in on ourselves and, in fact, in the midst of our own isolation, we might have a sense of a need to close inward.”
But it was essential not to worship ourselves, our own needs, wants, fears and anxieties.
“In the midst of all this we still need to find ways of opening our hearts; opening them outwards to others and recognizing this moment – not just as a moment of personal isolation – but as a moment of collective endeavour,” Fr Mellor said.
“This is one way, this live stream, is one way of maintaining a connection but there are also other ways in which we can recognize the companionship of God in our midst.
“We can read scripture at home.
“We can light a candle.
“We can read books on spirituality and reflections on the Word.
“We can pray for one another and even the smallest prayer opens our hearts to the reality of the companionship of other human beings.
“So here in the midst of our own furnace may we recognize the companionship of God and may that companionship of God open us up to recognising the companionship of our human family.”