Christ the King Catholic Church
I had prepared an exceptionally eloquent homily on the Woman at the Well, which is the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Lent, but I am not going to offer it today.
God speaks in many ways. He speaks through his Son, who is the Word made flesh. He speaks through the scriptures. He also speaks through the events of our lives and our times.
I’ve been asking myself, “What might God be saying to us in these time: the times of the Corona Virus?”
On a personal level, I think God is calling me to give up some things that I did not plan on giving up for Lent. Usually, I like to pick what I am going to give up - a little coffee, a little television time and a little bit of money for the special collections.
This Lent is going to be different. As we settle into the’ new normal’ – whatever that is going to be, I think God is asking me to give up a little control over my life. Personally, I prefer giving up a little coffee, a little television time, and a little money!
I live by my calendar. Every night before I go to bed, I check my calendar and I know just what I am going to be doing the next day. Everything is laid out for me. Well, at least for the next three weeks, that is not going to be the case. With the cancelation of so many parish activities, I’m not exactly sure what I am going to be doing. And that must be what God thinks I need – a little less control. Like Abraham in last week’s reading, God is asking me to let him lead. Did I mention that I would prefer giving up a little coffee, a little TV and a little money?
Control of my life was not one of the things I was planning on giving up. Man proposes, and God disposes! I think this Lent may be a little different for many of us as we will all be called to give up some of the control over our lives which we are accustomed to having.
And maybe, just maybe, God is saying to us that we might be working way too hard and we need time away from our regular schedules to reconnect with some really important things in life like spouses and children and God. The next few weeks will offer many people the chance to do just that.
We are experiencing a pandemic. It’s certainly not anything new in human history. One of the ways of studying world history is through the prism of pandemics as they are so common in history. The first recorded pandemic, that I could find, goes back to ancient Greece in 430 B.C. That pandemic spread from Greece to Egypt and Syria and wiped out an estimated two thirds of the people in those three countries.
In the 14th century, the Black Death, also known as the Bubonic Plague, spread through Europe and more than a third of the population of Europe died.
The outbreak of the Spanish Flu spread around the world in 1918 and an estimated 5 million people succumbed to that virus.
We live in very different times. Thanks to the knowledge of how germs spread and an amazing health care system, we are immunized from the worst effects of pandemics.
For people in earlier times the pandemics and the frequency of pandemics helped keep death in the forefront of people’s minds. In the Middle Ages people would keep symbols of death around them in their homes as a reminder of death.
The worst thing that could happen to me would not be that I contract the Corona Virus and die. The worst thing that could happen would be to contract the Corona Virus and not be ready for death.
Lent is a time to put things right in our lives. Keeping the end in mind, it is a time to take care of some of the unfinished business of our lives. When we receive the ashes on Ash Wednesday, we sometimes hear the stark reminder, “Remember man that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.”
Life is a wonderful gift. But it has a beginning and an end and then a new beginning. The’ new normal’ that we will all be experiencing in the coming weeks will be a time to remember that and to perhaps take care of some things in life that we haven’t had time to do before – that we haven’t made time to do before. I can think of a few of those in my life!
What this ‘new normal’ will be and how long it will last, we do not know. There will be opportunities for all of us to do good, much good, as we look out for one another. There will probably be more time for prayer. I was thinking that even though Archbishop Thompson has lifted the ‘obligation’ to participate in Sunday Mass, in a few weeks if everything else is closed, and as cabin fever sets in, we may have as many people at our Sunday Masses as on Christmas Day!
Remember that the Adoration Chapel is available to all 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to pack up the family and make a ‘field trip’ to the Adoration Chapel during this time that the kids are out of school.
God speaks. He speaks in many ways. He speaks through his Son, through the scriptures and he speaks through the events of our lives. Let us pray that we will be open to whatever it is that he may be saying to us as individuals and as a people during this time in which we live.
I close with a quote that I saw on Facebook .
“Viruses are contagious, as are panic, fear and hysteria,
Calm, love, kindness and joy are also contagious.”
Each of must choose which of these we will spread in the coming weeks. May we choose wisely.