“You have to risk your life to be a true disciple”

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    The covid pandemic is still with us. Right now, many Asian countries, including Thailand, are engulfed by fresh coronavirus waves.  We are again in a tough time. What started as a health issue is compounded by the difficulty of it spilling over into other areas of people’s lives – economic, anxiety, etc. 

    But the mission of the Church – the Holy Redeemer Church – among its immediate community and parishioners – has not changed. The work of the church is to continue to be a church. The call of the Lord for the church to grow like a mustard seed, to tend to those already most at risk in our communities, and lean on the Lord’s grace and mercy remains strong.  

    Sustaining the parish community of Holy Redeemer Church during Covid 19 poses high risks for both the clergy and parishioners. There is, in fact, a tendency at times of pandemics for establishments to close in and protect themselves. This is a pandemic reality.  Most churches also have discouraged gatherings and moved to online services. We are one of the few churches, if not the only one, to remain open as well as offering online services for worshipping and to keep the community connected.

    But true disciples of Jesus and in Christian friendship with the mostly Buddhist community, we also need to reach out to others and to share in their hopes and sufferings. 

    As a church community, there is a great deal we can and need to do to be a true disciple despite the covid risks and restrictions. We do not stop in the midst of a pandemic.

    On April 17th, upon the request of the government authorities, the premises of the Holy Redeemer Church have become the centre of vaccination for its surrounding neighbourhood for several days. A beautiful gesture of our spiritual support. Perhaps some of our parishioners view this as a dangerous move for exposure.

    In solidarity with the community, the Redemptorists also receive one of the coronavirus vaccines to encourage one another that people have a moral obligation not only to save one’s own life but also the lives of others. “I believe that morally everyone must take the vaccine,” the pontiff said in a January 10th interview, an indication that the Vatican strongly supports the global vaccination effort.

    Truly, the pandemic has changed our lives. It is, therefore, important that we face this current situation with the hope of God’s grace and resilience. With these measures, a true disciple takes steps to ensure that avenues of spiritual growth are available, to show God’s compassion to those affected in our communities, and to be in communion with people trying to find God in very difficult times.  In these trying times, a true disciple embracing the risks is particularly praiseworthy in the eyes of the Lord, our neighbouring Buddhist community, and beyond.

    by Ruby Hoskin, 
    a Holy Redeemer Church Parishioner and Lay Collaborator

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