Is The Virtual Church Good Enough?

This very unprecedented time in our lives has pushed us to be creative in ways we never thought we’d have to be.

The internet suddenly exploded and had the world’s full attention; family reunions on zoom, Instagram challenges, tips on how to stay occupied in isolation, and for me in particular as a Catholic Missionary trying to continue practising my faith… an excessive amount of access to Virtual Mass & Adoration. Setting up a laptop every Sunday at 11 AM with my household, lighting the candles and imagining myself receiving communion with my knees on our soft, and way too comfortable, living room floor carpet is actually happening. I can’t wait to tell the generations to come about this and to be able to tell them that I actually did that! 

This new concept of living room virtual Mass has made me really reflect on the story of the woman who touched the cloak of Jesus in the past couple of weeks. Jesus is right there but I don’t quite have full reach of Him. I question constantly, am I participating in the Mass or not? Am I actually participating in the sacrament or just watching it? What if one day I want to stay in bed as I watch Sunday Mass instead? Pass on the candles, listen to the Mass like it’s another one of my podcasts… is there something actually wrong with that? I don’t actually think so? 

But here’s something that I want to reflect on while I ask those questions, the woman had to make some effort to reach out and make contact with the tip of Jesus’ cloak. Amongst the crowd of people, she knew that all she had was Jesus’ cloak, I assume she had by then accepted there would be no conversation with Jesus, no eye contact and no opportunity to spend more than a second with Jesus… her encounter with Jesus was limited. but I am inspired by her effort to reach out anyway, in that circumstance given to her. 

Virtual Mass for me kind of feels like the tip of Jesus’ cloak. It’s not the complete celebration and no I am not physically receiving the Eucharist on my tongue…my encounter with our Lord feels limited,  but that’s the best we have in this circumstance. And Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone forth from me.” (Luke 8: 46). Jesus will feel my reach. 

Our reach for the tip of His cloak is enough. 

I think that this is a perfect time to let our faith save us. Let’s also remember that when the woman touched the cloak of Jesus she was healed, and that Jesus turned around. She got that conversation, He looked into her eyes, and she had more than a second with Him. We are already being healed, and in time Jesus will turn around and we will get that complete encounter with Him.

Faith Estera, NET Staff