March 22, 2020 – Fourth Sunday of Lent

Dearest sisters and brothers, greetings to each of you in this strange time of our life.  The chaos and the confusion that has been brought upon our spiritual and parish life in this most important spiritual season of Lent can only be imagined.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has temporary altered our way of life in such a way that we cannot gather as brothers and sisters this Sunday to celebrate the Lord’s presence in our midst in the Holy Mass.

At this moment, many of us are taken up by emotions of frustration, sadness, and bewilderment.  We, like the Psalmist, are asking, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When shall I come and behold the face of God” in his Church?

Despite the sadness we feel about our current situation, today’s first reading and the Gospel, is reminding us that the world still belongs to God and He is still in charge.

In the first reading, Samuel thought that the choice God will make in choosing a king from the sons of Jesse will be based on human appearance.  That is why when he saw Eliab, he said, “surely the Lord’s anointed is here before him”.  God reminded him that he does not see as humans do.  He rather chose David.

Dearest ones, it is in light of above that God is calling us to look at our present situation. Today, the Lord is offering us a new opportunity to see through the present “coronavirus winter” the larger picture of our oneness as brothers and sisters in the Him beyond our little inconveniences.

Perhaps, one message we can already glean from our inability to have the Eucharist celebrated today is to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who for most parts of their lives have been unable to celebrate the Eucharist due to circumstances of war, terrorism, etc.  It is also a moment to remember our brothers and sisters who are living in missionary areas that rarely have the opportunities we have to celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday.

Finally, in this moment, in a mysterious way, the Lord is offering us the true meaning of Lent, which, while being a time of human lack, is a time of absolute trust in God.  The desert, which is the place where Our Lord lived out the first Lent, is a place of lack.  Our present circumstance is both a physical and spiritual desert for each and every one of us.

Our Lord is calling us today to place our whole trust in him.  He healed the blind man in the gospel today. He will also heal us from our infirmities including this new virus that is ravaging our entire humanity.

May the Lord help us in this, our time of need.

God bless you!