I have to say that this is going to be one of the strangest Holy Weeks that I will ever have celebrated.0
I sure miss having public Masses. I think it’s even more poignant with Holy Week and Easter not to be able to celebrate together. This is when people need their faith. They need the Lord. They need the church most of all. That’s what makes it all the more. But at the same time, we must remember, God never abandons us. So, we may be inconvenienced for now, and may not be able to celebrate our faith in Christ publicly. But this does not stop us from praying, worshiping on line, doing works of charity, showing love and forgiveness.
Maybe God is allowing this so that we can re-learn that, as the old saying goes, “Charity begins at home.” Cooped up together, families are being tested, patience stretched, creativity is being called upon. Maybe God is trying to take us back to the basics.
And we must not forget that charity means thinking of others first. We must practice social distancing for now, so that this pandemic doesn’t spread. We have a moral responsibility to protect people in the wider community. It would be the height of selfishness to ignore the good of our neighbor and selfishly seek our own convenience and desires. And we’ve certainly seen in the news many examples of people being selfish and self-serving.
However, I have been noticing some special graces through these past few weeks, and I have no doubt that there will be many more this coming week.
One of the many messages I have received over these past few weeks is how grateful they are for the liturgies and devotions that we’ve been posting on Facebook and on our parish website. How many people, who don’t normally get the chance to come to daily Mass can access it now from their homes and personal devices. I’m grateful for the staff who have organized, filmed, edited, played music so that we can provide them for our parishioners.
The other grace I have experienced myself and have heard from others is, how many people have a deeper appreciation of the Sacraments and our Masses now that we can’t have them publicly.
As I’ve said before, the saints always spoke about Spiritual Communion and the Sacrament of the Present Moment.
St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans:
“What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. We can be put out and angry – or we can be grateful and become more thoughtful about how precious our Faith and the Sacraments are, and never take them for granted again. I hope that’s a lesson we will all take away from this time.” Romans 8: 36-39
This pandemic too shall pass. We must be patient and practice charity and continue to pray. I have included with this article the various ways we will celebrate Holy Week and Easter this year.
I invoke this ancient Aaronic and priestly blessing that God gave to Aaron, the brother of Moses, the first priest of the temple
“May the Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his
face toward you and give you peace.”
Numbers 6: 24-26