Bridgeport bishop: Wear a physical mask, but let spiritual masks fall
While wearing physical masks may protect the lives of others during a pandemic, there is another type of mask – an invisible, spiritual mask – that hides us from our responsibility as a Christians, warned Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport.
These spiritual, invisible masks must be peeled off and thrown away if we are to embrace our call to spread the Gospel, he said.
“We wear [masks] to protect those in our midst, the elderly, the frail, those with pre-existing conditions, and those who are susceptible to the virus unknown to them or to us,” Caggiano said in an Oct. 2 video reflection.
“We wear these masks, my friends, not to protect ourselves, but in an act of Christian love for our neighbor known and unknown,” he said.
Since the early days of the pandemic in the United States, beginning in March, Catholics have voluntarily restricted their behavior and movements, sometimes with great sacrifice, “all for one purpose: to protect life.” The greatest symbol of that sacrifice, Caggiano said, is the often “intrusive and annoying” face mask.
While these physical masks are important, he said, Christians can also fall into the temptation of wearing spiritual masks that hinder them from their calling as missionary disciples.
Caggiano identified three examples of these spiritual masks, one of which is the masking of our mouths— failing to speak the truth, out of fear. This includes when we see sinful or destructive behavior, and remain silent. Instead, he said, Christians must tell the truth in love.
Another example, Caggiano said, is the masking of our eyes— turning a blind eye to suffering, and to the people in the world who need our help, such as the poor, the sick, the needy, and to refugees.
Finally, Caggiano mentioned the masking our ears— shutting out the cries of those “who have everything they want, but very little of what they need.” Instead, we must learn to listen with our hearts, he said.
The bishop encouraged prayer to the Holy Spirit to help us recognize if we are wearing any of these destructive spiritual masks.
“While there are certain masks worth wearing, there are others that we need to throw away right here and right now,” he said.