“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)
With these words Jesus assures Martha, the sister of the dead man Lazarus, that the resurrection is real, and that her brother will live in that new life that comes from Jesus’ resurrection. Even as Martha mourns her brother’s death and questions Jesus (“Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died”), Jesus brings her to a new level of faith, where Martha is able to say “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe”. And then he shows her the power of the resurrection when he brings Lazarus out of the tomb.
We have been in a tomb of sorts recently. We have been told to stay home from school and work, and have been “holed up” in our houses because of the Coronavirus threat. And even when we go out we have to practice “social distancing”, and take precautions. We have not been able to gather in church to celebrate liturgies. However the Eucharist is being celebrated at St. Francis de Sales, and your intentions are being prayed for. We have been streaming the mass on Facebook Live. If you are not on Facebook I urge you to sign on and “like” the Facebook page of St. Francis de Sales where we have been streaming mass, and posting messages from myself, prayers and other helpful items during this crisis.
Next week it is already Palm Sunday and Holy Week. The Diocese of Rockville Centre has directed parishes not to distribute palms on Palm Sunday, but that they will be blessed and given at a later time. “Reconciliation Monday”, the Monday of Holy Week, on which we have traditionally celebrated the sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) for extended hours, is canceled this year. We will celebrate the liturgies of Holy Week – another reason to sign on to Facebook and participate online. Or you can follow the liturgies that will be televised by the Catholic Faith Network, EWTN and other outlets.
Our daily lives may have been disrupted and put on PAUSE by the Coronavirus , but our faith life continues. We will come out of this tomb with new life, and perhaps with a new appreciation of the sacraments, especially of the Eucharist. The health crisis has come during this season of Lent, a time when we are called to go deeper into our faith and prayer life. I invite all of you to enter into even more deeply this Lent into your relationship with God, and come to believe that the Lord is with us and gives us new life. Please keep praying. Please stay in contact with your loved ones via phone, e-mail, social media, and keep an eye on those most vulnerable, the elderly and the sick.
The Resurrection is real. We will rise again from the tomb. We will have new life. Please be safe and healthy. Follow the precautions and keep one another healthy. And let’s pray for each other.