Tonight we said mass for Thomas who is not well and living in the Czech Republic. His sister joined us and we celebrated the mass at the same time as the family was celebrating mass in the Czech Republic. What was happening in that double celebration and in what sense were we connecting with Thomas? As we gathered at the altar it seemed to me that there is a sense in which we step into a timeless space and also a 'placeless space.' This celebration, happening at the same time in two places, reminds us of the deep reality of the risen Jesus who is present in all places and in all times. Therefore by being "In Christ" at the mass we are deeply connected to both the past and the future as well as to every place.
By engaging with the risen Christ at mass we also touch the places where the cross and resurrection are moving as an invitation to life. That flow of Easter energy connects people to those who have yet to be born, to those in need at present and to those who have gone before to the fullness of resurrection. Therefore the mass takes us all into a different dimension where space and time collapse to a single point in Christ and where we are one with each other and with the Risen Christ. As the host is raised up, the bread broken and the wine is poured all of creation is drawn up into that drama of dying and rising. Standing around the altar as a community that night it was as if we had discovered roots that ran deep into a common reality in Christ. We belonged together around the altar but we also belonged with all people of all time and forever.
So in focussing on Thomas and a simultaneous mass in the Czech Republic we were only making specific something that happens mystically in every mass; we were connecting with all life and creation. It's just that this time it was with Thomas in mind.