I know that for many of you wearing a mask is difficult. So remember, by wearing a mask you are being humble and obedient to our hierarchs, and respecting them, just as by wearing a mask you are showing respect for me personally as your priest. Above all, however, by wearing a mask you are showing forth that ‘love and charity with our neighbours,’ which is one of the most essential and important features of our eucharistic worship, our neighbour who may be older, or who may have an underlying health issue, or who has, perhaps, an elderly relative at home, or a family member who is sick or infirm.
In his first epistle to the Corinthians, St Paul speaks of this very thing. Because like us, the church of Corinth faced a divisive issue. For them, the issue was whether it was right or not to eat meat sacrificed to idols. And dealing with that issue Paul shows us how we can deal with our dividing issue, the issue of masks. Be careful, he says, that you don’t cause those who are weak to stumble. For, when you sin against your weak brother, you are sinning against Christ, who died for him, he writes.
If eating meat hurts my brother, Paul says, I will never eat meat again! And in like manner should we not say, if not wearing a mask hurts my brother, should I not put one on?