March 27, 2020

My brothers and sisters in Christ,
 
We are living in a time of a global pandemic. It is a crisis the likes of which the world has never known. The initial result has been much turmoil, anxiety, isolation, denial, and personal and economic uncertainty. People are feeling it, and it has just begun. It is, and will be, an evolving and dynamic situation. One thing is painfully certain, however, there is and will be much illness, suffering and death. 

The worldview in which we were operating just a few months ago has been, is being and will continue to be rocked. It seems unlikely things will “get back to normal” any time soon. It is more likely that something different is being formed and that a new normal will come out of it. 
 
Therefore we must not make the mistake of thinking this is an inconvenience, a break, or an interruption. This is a time of traumatic change on many levels. The pandemic and its adversity has become a common denominator of humanity.  It will be this way for a time; and maybe a long time. Accepting that reality allows us to see the need to adapt to the challenges of the unknown. This we are doing, and we are doing so from the perspective of our greatest advantage – that is, our faith in God and in our Lord Jesus Christ. That gives us a very clear purpose. 
 
We have been formed in the love of God and inspired by the gift of God’s Holy Spirit to be the body of Christ on earth. It is the gift of Holy Spirit that is our strength, and wisdom, and courage and comfort even in, maybe especially in, times such as these.  And we have accepted the discipleship invitation to “Deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him.” To the glory of God and for the sake of the world this is a time when we learn what that calling really means. What we do now and what we don’t do now matters.

Although this crisis is far from over, I think when it is all said and done, that it will have resulted in deeper relationships having been developed, more intimate friendships having been formed and a greater appreciation of the goodness of life being known. I also think the importance of community will be felt very deeply. Ironically this time of social distancing will result not in isolation but in an adamant drive to find ways to reconnect and connect and build relationships. I commend making it so intentionally. Find a way to spend quality time with your family and friends. Stop using technology to maintain a safety wall – call someone and talk. Enjoy the people you love.

It is also a time to feed your soul. Study something good. Read the Bible. Take an on-line class. Make time for prayer.  And then, find what you are being called to do in the Name of God, and go do it.

God’s love is a strong peace even now. Find it. God is with us. Know you are not alone. Know we are all in this together. Be faithful, get creative, get motivated and get going. We are all in this crisis for a time, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is exactly the same hope as it has always been, and always will be.  There is powerful hope in that truth.  

Peace,
Fr. Bill