May 10, 2020
Every day, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ calls us to experience a spiritual renewal in our life, to realize His gifts of faith, hope and love that lead us to communion with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We can freely embrace or reject these gifts from God who is love (1 John 4), as He will not force us to be faithful, hopeful and loving. By His grace, once we say yes to Jesus and commit to conversion, to turning to the Lord, we then learn to pray in faith and experience His love, hope, peace and joy. Faith is an adherence to God as His sons and daughters “beyond what we feel and understand” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2609). Knowing how much we can be swayed and side-tracked by our feelings, Jesus Christ consoles and counsels us in the Gospel this Sunday: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God…” ( John 14:1-12).
It’s certainly been difficult to not let our hearts be troubled in recent weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic and the shutdowns. Our faith has been tested, challenged. I pray that it’s also been strengthened and renewed as we may have re-focused on what truly matters in life: faith, hope, love, family, friendships. Due to many initial unknowns about the virus and erroneous predictions, most people, including medical experts, political leaders and the media, became extremely anxious and fearful. Now, with actual effects of the virus better known and documented, let’s pray that we’ve learned some lessons about protecting the vulnerable and those most at risk in the midst of a virus outbreak or any other crisis – first and foremost, protecting the elderly and those with weakened health conditions, safely caring for all who need to be quarantined. Trusting in God, may we encourage everyone to use common sense and be reasonable, allowing everyone to work safely and prudently to support their families, farms and businesses, and to freely practice our faith. We the People can safely, peacefully, lovingly, faithfully and freely practice our religion in our houses of worship and in our daily lives (while those with health concerns can practice their faith from their home). Let’s keep praying for God’s strength, courage, healing and peace for all people, for all healthcare workers, all in law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical service personnel, and all in our U.S. Armed Forces, as they’re all ensuring our safety, health, peace and freedoms. Let’s keep praying for all who have been able to work from their homes or at their actual worksites, all parents and children who’ve had to adjust to school closures, and for the more than 30 million Americans who are suffering from unemployment, and all the farmers, small-business owners, and all businesses that have been severely hurt by the shutdowns in our Lancaster community, state, country and the world.
You see, when we have the freedom to live the faith, in our churches and in the public square, in our words and deeds, amazing things happen in our life: we experience communion with the Lord Jesus and are able to do the opus Dei (work of God), realizing that God has prepared for us a dwelling in Heaven. Like the Apostles, therefore, we cry out, “Increase our faith, Lord!” (Luke 17:5), asking God to help us live the faith that we profess, to be instruments of His love and mercy for others. Each day, we need God’s grace in order to pray, to proclaim the Truth with love, to keep His Commandments (Ephesians 4; Romans 8; John 14:15; 15:1-17), and stay close to Him in His Church, His Word and His Sacraments, especially in the Holy Eucharist. When we follow Jesus Christ, we cannot settle for compromise or mediocrity, for He is the Way, the Truth and the Life ( John 14:6). Adherence to Jesus Christ, by His grace, ensures that where He is we too will be, even unto the ultimate Communion with Him and the Father and the Holy Spirit in eternal life in Heaven.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, let us thank God for all our moms, living and deceased, remembering the 103rd Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13 and asking Jesus Christ’s mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the perfect disciple, to pray for us, and to help us to pray, and to be in closer communion with her Son, Jesus Christ, the Only Savior of the world. Amen. Alleluia.
With peace and prayers in Christ, for you and all your families,