March 29, 2020
I have heard from many of you how you miss the opportunity to come to Mass and visit the church. I had one mom share with me “the kids keeping asking about church and why aren’t we going!” That truly warms my heart. While I know not every child or adult misses the time spent in the pews, I do think this current crisis is reminding all of us how much of our lives is beyond our control. And in this space of vulnerability, we need more than ever our Faith in a loving, caring, present God. This temporary (and I emphasize temporary!!!) situation is reminding us all of the importance of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist as the true Source and Summit of our Faith life. This temporary situation reinforces the value of our shared parish life together.
With the Fifth Sunday in Lent, we enter Passiontide – the final days of preparation for Easter. Sort of like in a track race, there is the ‘final push’ on the ‘home stretch’ to the finish line, we enter those last days to Easter. This year’s Passiontide will be unlike any other, and it may be that much more important. As the immediacy of the daily tasks at hand – working from home, homeschooling, striving for domestic tranquility – consume our time, how will we live as Catholic Christians entering into the Paschal Mystery? The witness value of these days to your children and the personal integrity for yourself will require a conscious effort on your part.
I know much is being asked of you, and yet, if Christ Resurrection is our final hope, the temporary struggles of the daily cross must be carried. How and what we make important and prioritize in the midst of tragedy and trial says more about what is truly important to us than the typical fanfare of the season. Spring Easter dresses and egg hunts are joyful, but the presence of Christ in the Cross is the lesson of these Passiontide days.
If you recall, the parish often covers the statues in this time as a visual reminder that the days of the tomb draw near. Maybe you do the same. Do you have crucifix’s in the house or pictures of saints? Cover them. Do you have a Bible (please say yes!), open it to the Passion of Jesus in Matthew or John and leave it out prominently in the home. Carry your rosary in your pocket for the next few days. Each of these little reminders will bring your heart and mind back in the busyness of the days to the true importance of Jesus’ Christ’s impending Passion and Death. It is not a morbid reminder, but rather an act of Faith and Hope. An act of the source of our confidence in the face of any trial – even the trial (and yes it is a trial) of being sequestered by a pandemic.
Know of my prayers and fasting for you daily, but especially as we each share in a different and immediate way the Passiontide of our Lord.
Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Pray for us!
~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries