THURSDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT MARCH 26, 2020
A Gospel according to John 5:31-47
Jesus said to the Jews: “If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true. But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true. You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept human testimony, but I say this so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf. But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, and you do not have his word remaining in you, because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life. “I do not accept human praise; moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father: the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope. For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
REFLECTION: "How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?"
In late January 2020 the first case of Coronavirus in the United States was reported in Washington state. And just as we did in preparing for hurricanes and other natural catastrophes, we have been asked to prepare for the worst.
Everybody in my neighborhood has been gathering supplies, sharing information, calling friends and relatives to make sure they are okay. We did the same when we first heard of hurricane Harvey heading our way back in 2017.
We are all simultaneously experiencing a sense of calmness and panic that is reflected in all the memes and funny social comments we see on the web hourly.
We have closed cities, and entire states in order to prevent this disease from spreading too quickly.
We have closed bars, casinos, and churches, so as not to be too close in contact with each other.
Our bishops suspended Masses as a way to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus. In doing so we were also showing love to our neighbor.
Meanwhile, during this worldwide pandemic, abortion clinics are still open in the United States; China is demolishing Christian Churches; New Zealand decriminalizes abortion; Mexico is using amulets and charms to ward off the Coronavirus and continues with business as usual; Ireland takes over private healthcare. Masses, rosaries, and preaching by Catholic priests are disappearing due to censoring content by social media.
Since adoration chapels are closed, the monstrances are put away. The churches are empty with only the priest and Jesus in the tabernacle.
We, as a society, as the world, have been telling God to leave us alone. Even a number of celebrities just released a video singing "Imagine" by John Lennon: a song that talks about no religion in the world.
We don't have to imagine. It is happening.
But I ask you, my friend. What are these celebrities doing right now other than hunkering down and making tik-toks?
Of course, in a world wide quarantine, I am not asking them to go in the front lines. But what are they doing besides streaming videos and concerts?
As of today, about 25 sports celebrities have donated money to food banks, hospitals, and arena/stadium employees that are not receiving salaries.
Movie celebrities are even joking that they are the ones that will take us through this crisis. And yes, some are donating up to 1 million dollars to different charities.
And they are being praised by the media and all social networks.
And God, like the gentleman He is, is leaving us alone.
It is up to all the faithful to come together in prayer, and humbly ask God to come back to us. And trust that in due time, He will.
Our priests are alone in their parishes. They are doing a great effort to stream live Masses, Rosaries, Divine Mercy Chaplets, Eucharistic Processions and Benedictions in the streets, etc.
Now they need our support more than ever.
Join them in praying through the same social media tools we use to "like" or "follow" others.
Let them know they might be physically alone, but we support them with our prayers, specially with the PAPA Prayer for Priests.
Reach to those that for years have brought us the Eucharist. Reach out to those whom the Father has sent to us for our salvation.