BRIDGEPORT— At a time of growing anxiety in the face of the pandemic and social change, we can find strength and peace in the teachings of Jesus, said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano in his online Mass for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
In his homily the bishop reflected on readings from First Corinthians (7:32-25), “I should like you to be free of anxieties,” and the impact of Jesus’s teachings in Capernaum ( Mark 1:21-28, ), “The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority.”
“I should like you to be free of anxieties– How often have those words come to our lips” said the bishop, noting that we often seek to console friends and family members during times of stress and uncertainty.
He urged the faithful to accompany others during the pandemic, so they do not face their sufferings and fears alone.
Our anxieties can divert our attention from that which can bring us greater peace each day when we understand that “all manner of things will be well when we find the one who teaches with authority,” he said.
The bishop began his homily by noting that he and his nephew recently watched a Netflix docudrama called “The Social Dilemma,” which focused on the way social media is manipulating human life, particularly among the young who are dependent and even addicted to it, leading to anxiety in their lives.
The bishop said we all seem to struggle with anxiety at one time or another. However, in this time of Covid-19, many people are experiencing a crippling anxiety that is affecting their daily life and “becoming a burden too heavy to carry.”
“The Christian obligation is to care for those who are struggling with any form of mental illness, even compulsive, burdening anxiety,” he said, adding that people should seek professional help if necessary and not be held back by the stigma of mental illness.
The Gospel of Mark offers a clue to help us deal with the normal anxieties of life along with our deeper and abiding worries, he said. “The clue comes from St. Mark’s depiction of Jesus as one who taught with authority,”
‘What does that mean?. Knowledge can come from reason, experience or intuition—the deep and abiding awareness one has that what is before them is more than meets the eye,” he said.
The bishop said that the people of Capernaum had that intuition when they heard Jesus speak. They understood and believed that Jesus taught with authority, and that when he spoke, they heard the fullness of truth.
“That intuition in the rough and tumble of our lives struggling with normal anxieties is the need to go back and do what the people of Capernaum did—sit before the Lord and listen to that intuition in our hearts that he speaks with authority.”
The bishop said there are no questions that Jesus can’t t answer or wounds he cannot heal “because he walks with us in lightness and in darkness, and he has shed his blood so that our mistakes might be forgiven,… and we might not be enchained by sin but find new life.”
The bishop said our mission is to be messengers who can lead others to the one who speaks with authority and can heal them.
“Let us find the strength to sit at his feet and allow him to lead us ever more, step by step, day by day, into the peace he promises to all who follow him.”
Following Mass the bishop said he continued to pray for the people of the diocese and he invited all to join him in the weekly family Rosary, saying that “there is no better way to sit at the feet of the Lord and allow the Lord’s peace to take root in our heart.”
You are also invited to join Bishop Caggiano for the Sunday Family Rosary every Sunday at 7:30 p.m. visit: https://formationreimagined.org/sundayfamilyrosary/
The Bishop’s Sunday Mass is released online every Sunday morning at 8 a.m. and available for replay throughout the day. To view the Bishop’s Sunday Mass, recorded and published weekly, click this link or visit the YouTube Mass Playlist.