We are all struggling to cope and understand in these crazy times with the Coronavirus spreading and our leaders calling for social distancing.
As Bishop McElroy said in his letter, read last weekend:
“Is the Lord in our midst or not?” Our faith tells us that he is, its just harder to see and feel it. The Bible gives us no shortage of stories of hard times and how people of faith responded to help themselves and others get through it. Our world has faced worse before, such as the Black Plague in the 1400’s, and we got through it, though not without casualties. All I can say is that its a reminder of our vulnerable human situation, and how we are not in control of the world, though we are are called to be stewards and do our part for the good of the earth, the good of others, and the glory of God. Perhaps that’s the required and only faith response we can make for now.
Even now, we can make the response of faith, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and live by the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, good counsel, fear of (or respect for, trust in) the Lord. IF we rely on the Holy Spirit, even now we can manifest the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, self-control (no hoarding!), also, hope, radiate hope to others.
Perhaps this crisis will lead people to turn more to God, especially our young people, many of whom don’t seem to have any faith or religion.
Listen to the words of the the prophet Daniel, who spoke this prayer while sitting in the fiery furnace; he was placed there due to his unwavering commitment to God:
“We have in our day no priest, prophet or incense,
no way to offer sacrifice to find favor with you.
But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received;
as though it were holocausts of rams and bullocks, or thousands of fat lambs,
So let our sacrifice be in your presence today as we follow you unreservedly
for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame…
(Daniel chapter 3:38-40 )
When all this is ended we will be reunited again together in joy at the table of the Eucharist, our truest and deepest level of social connection – not just with each other, but with God, and all those who have gone before us. For now you can share in a “Spiritual Communion”, like the prophet Daniel and the People of Israel. Our desire to be united with God and each other has merit in the eyes of God, even if we are impeded from actual receiving of Holy Communion, as long as it is through no fault of our own, as in this case.
Fr. Brian Hayes, Pastor