We celebrated Holy Week this year, without the washing of the feet, the reverencing of the cross, the baptizing of catechumens. We celebrated at a protective social distance, unable to worship together, without the reception of Jesus’ body and blood. Now we greet the Octave of Easter in like fashion. Why is it so? Why did God permit this virus to spin out of control? Why is it so contagious? Why are so many people across the world dying?” My questions spiral on and on in search of comforting answers.
In a recent Urbi et Orbi blessing during this pandemic, Pope Francis exhorted us, “Faith begins when we realize we are in need of salvation . . . we need the Lord, like ancient navigators needed the stars.” We are not in charge although we often believe and act as if we are. In the face of COVID-19, I recognize in a dramatic way what the pope’s description of the beginning of faith might mean.
I need salvation from my own self-centeredness, my preoccupation with my own desires and needs. I need the Lord to be saved from my blindness to the reality of how the poor and those on the margins suffer. I need salvation from the times I look away and distance myself from whomever I name “other.” I need to be saved from my inattention to how my choices harm the earth. I need the “God-star” to gracefully navigate both the nights and days of my life.
May we pray with and for each other that, in this Easter season more than in any in the past, we walk closely with the risen Jesus, who “. . . awakens so as to reawaken and revive our Easter faith.” Pope Francis