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  • Writer's picturePhil


I am grateful to Father Malcolm Jones for sending me “LOCKDOWN” ,

penned by an Irish Capuchin Franciscan Brother Richard Hendrick,

who posted this on his Facebook page on Friday March 13.

Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.


They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes

But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other across the empty squares,

keeping their windows open so that those who are alone

may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know is busy spreading fliers

with her number through the neighbourhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples are preparing to welcome

and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.

But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul

Yes there is even death.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic

The birds are singing again

The sky is clearing,

Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able

to touch across the empty square,


In the early days of Jesus’ ministry, this account is found in three of the Gospels.

This is Luke’s version; in Mark’s Gospel the place is named – Capernaum.

LUKE 5:17-26 One day as Jesus was teaching,

Pharisees and teachers of the law,

who had come from every village

of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem,

were sitting there,

and the power of the Lord was with him for healing.

And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed;

they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence.

But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd,

they went up on the roof

and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles

into the middle in front of Jesus.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said,

"As for you, your sins are forgiven."

Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves,

"Who is this who speaks blasphemies?

Who but God alone can forgive sins?"

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply,

"What are you thinking in your hearts?

Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,'

or to say, 'Rise and walk?'

But that you may know

that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins?"

he said to the one who was paralyzed,

"I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home."

He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, "We have seen incredible things today."


Picture Christ in the packed room.

His audience in rapt attention.

You are among the crowd, and suddenly you notice a commotion

coming from the roof.

Note that those who are carrying the paralytic

are confronted with obstacles.

It was impossible for them to reach Jesus at ground level.

These seekers of assistance are, however, made of sterner stuff.

They go to a lot of trouble to ensure that their paralysed friend

comes face-to-face with Jesus.

Imagine the feelings of the patient himself! The embarrassment, the reluctance to cause a stir, the confusion, the doubt as to whether all the fuss is worthwhile or not.

Place yourself on the stretcher, face-to-face with Jesus. Tell him -

What paralyses you?

What holds you back from enjoying life to the full?

What fears do you have that stop you pursuing this or that?

Allow Jesus to say to you:

"I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home."

Place someone you know who is suffering into the stretcher.

Let them down into Christ's presence.

Ask him to say to that person:

"I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home."

This is Jesus, whom we are called to follow

as disciples in our own time;

from Bethlehem to Bethany,

from Jerusalem to Jericho;

from Capernaum to Calvary,

from Golgotha to the grave;

from heaven to hell and back again.

Jesus says to us -

follow me...

believe me...

receive me….

rest in me.....

John Bell (adapted)

Now faith is

the assurance of things hoped for,

the conviction of things not seen.

We come convinced of many things

but trusting very few.

Holy God of limitless surprises,

meet us here in our place,

as we touch that which we cannot see

that for which we have not dared to hope.

The Heart and Mind of Jesus - George Appleton

Grant me, Lord, a simple heart,

Which never harbours sorrows;

A heart glorious in self-giving,

Tender in compassion;

A heart faithful and generous

Which will never forget any good

Or bear a grudge for any evil.

Make me a heart gentle and humble

Loving without asking any return.

Large-hearted and undauntable,

Which no ingratitude can sour

And no indifference can weary;

A heart penetrated by the love of Jesus

Whose desire will only be

Satisfied in the things of heaven.

Grant me, Lord,

The mind and heart of your Son.

We remember ..The Corrymeela Community

For those who have made the news headlines today

because of what they’ve done or said

We remember…

For those who should be in the news headlines

because they say or do or are signs of hope

We remember…

For those who we know will have difficulty

coping with themselves today

We remember…

For those who are in hospital, in prison or in care

or in a place which is strange to them

We remember…

For those who are agonising over a decision they have to make

We remember…

For any other special person or situation

We remember…

And for ourselves……..

You, The God of all space, want us to look In the right and wrong places For signs of hope, For people who are hopeless, For visions of a better world Which will appear Among the disappointments Of the world we know…

So, thank you for the looking time

Iona Community

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