May there echo in your hearts, in your families and communities the announcement of the Resurrection, along with the warm light of the presence of the Living Jesus; a presence which brightens, comforts, forgives, gladdens. Jesus conquered evil at the root: he is the Door of Salvation, open wide so that each person may find mercy. -Prayer of Pope Francis
Greetings, and may all of you enjoy, together, a blessed, peaceful, and happy Easter, wherever this finds you!
This Coronavirus Pandemic has changed everything. We all feel it in various circumstances. It is, indeed, a providential Lent, much of which has been very difficult.
And change usually means some degree of discomfort and irritability. Signs of maturity are always manifested in behaviors that address the adaption to change according to the situations around us. Many of you have been very close together for quite a while. Christ is in your midst, especially in the form of the grace of wisdom, received and shared!
In your personal experience, what have you learned about yourself and others in these novel, and providential times? Has the yeast of Grace and Wisdom prepared the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth? (I Cor 5:8)
Since the beginning of March, I have done weekly emails to people who are quarantined and have been deprived of Holy Mass and the Eucharist. I have been laying out various scenarios as to how we can be a “home church.” I have asked various questions to assist in building “church” at home. After all, this is the way the Christian community grew, out of people’s homes.
For instance, “have you noticed a change in habit or behavior since you have been quarantined? For better or for worse? Can you tell one another what it has been like? Are all of you still talking to one another? Has the Spirit among you moved you to praying together?
Perhaps during these past three days, that we call the “Triduum,” we have been able to read, pray and talk about these most sacred days of the Church year, that is, the story of our salvation- the open, inviting pathway to Eternal Life and reunion with our Heavenly Father!
As best we can, we are praying, reflecting and maybe talking about the act that changed the very nature of human reality, as we entered into the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. This novel Lent, perhaps, has enabled us to ask questions that really matter to us and others with whom we live.
I take solace in the scriptural comments regarding Peter and the unidentified disciple who arrived and entered into the empty tomb. It is noted that the unnamed companion of Peter “saw and believed” that Christ had Risen from the dead. However, “they did not understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.”
That understanding grows only through the encounter with Jesus through our own personal and inter-personal stories about building His Body, the Church. The “hidden life with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3) is only accessible by faith. And within the particular confines in which we find ourselves, we can call upon His Risen Presence. In the coming days follow his appearances, and by all means, watch for His appearances in your own situations.
Father Alex Steinmiller, CP, resides at St. Paul of the Cross Community, Detroit, Michigan.