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Part of the Whole

On our family Zoom gathering yesterday, we waited for our mother to arrive and share her experience of attending church. This was her first major outing since the time of shelter-in-place and there were concerns, how/if/whether, balanced against the shared sentiment that if the joy of the experience far outweighed the risks associated, we supported her.

And it was joyfully that she shared each phase of the experience – even through masking, assigned seating and a smaller crowd prohibited from embrace. Her emotion-filled telling of serving as lector for Pentecost Sunday affirmed the decision as right for her.

As she recounted the first line of the first reading – “we are many parts” – I immediately heard the accompanying hymn that would follow:

We are many parts; we are all one body.  And the gifts we have we are given to share.  May the Spirit of love, make us one indeed.  One, the love that we share; one, our hope in despair,  one, the cross that we bear.

I haven’t attended a Catholic Mass for many years, for many reasons, but in the opening score of my life, I was a consistent participant and the music was always my favorite part. These lyrics struck a chord in the dissonant reflections I’d had all week.

We are not sharing love freely and equally.