Dear friends and brothers and sisters all: here, and those present via live stream,
Welcome to all of you as we gather on this Lord’s day to meet once more the Lord who walks with us each and every day. Our gathering together here and via live stream is a source of strength, courage and comfort in these challenging days.
As I was preparing for this Sunday Mass, we hear in the responsorial psalm that the Lord is our God whom he Shepherds, the flock whom he guides, in the second reading that “Hope does not disappoint,” and in the encounter of the Lord with the woman at the well, we look to the daily encounters with the Lord who will show himself to us in the midst of confusion, just as he met the Samaritan woman, and she could say that “we have heard for ourselves,” as her life was transformed by Christ, the same Christ who is here today with us.
When I was in Rome this past January, I had the chance to walk past reminders of pandemics and plagues of the past, which called forth heroism from people, and called forth the presence of Christ: St. Frances of Rome, St. Aloysius Gonzaga, St. Michael, reminders of Eucharistic processions in times of plagues and sickness of the past, and in particular the icon of the Mother of God in St. Mary Major, known as “Salus populi Romani” – the Health of the Roman people, which was carried through the streets of Rome during times of plague and sickness, which our Holy Father visits regularly. All reminders of God in our midst, who never leaves us.
I think of the many times that the Lord said, “Do not be afraid,” and “do not fear,” which are Lord said; the same words that Our Lady of Guadalupe said to St. Juan Diego.
And I remember within my lifetime, my grandparents speaking of having lived through the Spanish flu, right after they were married. And I remember the effects of the polio epidemics and later the Salk vaccine.
All of these moments, as cures were searched for and precautions were taken, also called forth the best of the human spirit of generosity, care, love and fearlessness, AND Faith.
I would like to refer us to the words of one of our newly ordained priests, who shared with some of us his words and reflections:
“Throughout all of this, we are called to remember that regardless of our lives, God remains the same and God remains with us. He is the same in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. These are the words that couples exchange at weddings, and these are the words that God exchanges with us.
And so, may the Lord give us grace today, to listen to his voice, the voice of God which is with us in these moments. May he increase our faith as well to help us to use the gifts he has given to us, of wisdom and knowledge and insight to respond to the challenges of today.”