My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
On several occasions I have been privileged to walk down the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, following in the footsteps of Jesus so to speak as He made His way into the city some two thousand years ago. The people of the day were filled with hope – could this person be the Messiah King? Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. For centuries the faithful have gathered to celebrate the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and mark the beginning of Holy Week. Like those first faithful, pilgrims from all over the world come to the holy city, to the Mount of Olives filled with wonder, joy and yes.. hope.
Then the year 2020 comes and, with it, the corona virus pandemic across the globe. Gone are the crowds on the Mount of Olives. The streets of Jerusalem are empty, Holy Week and Easter celebrations cancelled or heavily curtailed. But what about that wonder, joy and hope? Have they been cancelled or curtailed? The answer lies in our faith. The Paschal mystery – “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again” is as pertinent today as it was on the first Easter. Despite the challenges and difficulties of our day, we can look to the Paschal Mystery with wonder, with joy and with hope just as those first believers did on that dusty mountainside.
Bishop Crosby wrote a beautiful reflection on the effect of the covid-19 pandemic. In it he states:
“Lift up your hearts! We lift them up to the Lord. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right and just! It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give You thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.” We repeat that little dialogue at every Mass. It is precisely what we must do now. During this time of trial, give thanks for the blessings we experience – the love of family and friends, the courage of healthcare and public health professionals, the availability of necessities to help us remain healthy, the bravery of those who are in quarantine or self-isolating, the awareness that we will get to the other side of this test and gather once again to sing and pray our thanksgiving together!”
My brothers and sisters, may you be strengthened by the love of God and supported by those around you and may you have a safe, healthy, wondrous, joyous and hopeful Easter.
Sincerely in Christ
P.S. I miss you all!!!