Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Boy howdy, has it been a strange couple of weeks. And indeed, by the time you may read this, more may have transpired than from when I wrote it on Monday, mid-day. The coronavirus has taken hold of many facets of everyday life and given them a good shake. Schools are closed, along with things like casinos, movie theaters, restaurants, and bars are being shut down or limited to take-out only. Many things that we take as a given or for granted are suddenly up in the air.
However, the reality that public Masses are suspended starting Monday, March 16 and through Friday, April 3rd is a real gut punch to be honest. It is an extraordinary measure to help ensure that the common good and public safety are maintained in this time. But it is a strange and unfamiliar situation to be in. I’ve celebrated Mass by myself before and it feels weird without a congregation. But I will continue to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass privately in the interim, for the intentions taken and most especially for you, my people who are dealing with all kinds of circumstances and potential challenges.
Most of us have not had to live through such a time as this before. It may seem to be difficult in the moment. With the closure of businesses, economic fluctuations, a recommended curfew, and of course health concerns, there is the potential for anxiety and even fear. But our forefathers, both in our country and in our faith, have been through such times and worse. There have been major illnesses that have swept the world and we’ve gotten through it. There has been major economic upheaval and we’ve gotten through it. There have been major conflicts and wars, and the world has survived.
At the end of the day, we are called to have faith and trust in the Lord. If the earliest Christians, who were persecuted and killed for the faith could be steadfast, then why not us? If Western Europe could endure the Black Death, then why not us? If our true center in life is Jesus Christ, then what can truly bother us?
As St. Paul says so eloquently, “What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? 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.” (Rom 8:35, 37-39)
Christ loves us. Christ will see us through this. Be kind to yourselves. Be kind to strangers. Heed the measures being put in place, and all will be well.
Peace and Goodness,