Did you ever imagine 2020 would be like this?
2020, the two zeros indicate circles of good and bad. Life consists of goodness and evil, and it’s up to us to get in or get out of the circle to find eternal love. More than ever, we need to THANK GOD for pouring out love for us even though so many people do not want to acknowledge His presence or that Jesus gave His life to all of us. We need to repent for our country’s sins, forgive people and their followers who defaced and attacked our sacred statues and the symbols of Christianity, and ask the Holy Spirit to kindle fires and open our hearts to love like JESUS did.
July of last year, Christians around the world, and especially Catholics in the Diocese of Orange, California, were excited about the Dedication of Christ Cathedral, which were ticket-only events. No one expected that soon after, in March 2020, our Christ Cathedral and Christian churches would be locked down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On and off since March, our churches have had many restrictions. Like Jesus’ tomb, there was a large rock blocking the entrance which meant no one was allowed inside; as with the churches, the doors were locked and the churches empty. I felt lost and despaired while standing on the ground of Christ Cathedral plaza by myself. There is also the uncertainty of the future: hundreds of thousands of people have already died from this virus, some had to relocate, and others lost or may lose their jobs. This causes us to feel confused, scared, disoriented, and helpless. On top of that, what will the future of America look like after the election?
Reassurance, Resurrection and Rejoicing: The Diocese of Orange California is building a new church in Santa Ana: CHRIST OUR SAVIOR. What is timelier or more appropriate for us! A historic, new church being built during a worldwide pandemic, a time of persecution and discrimination of Christians in America; this is a sign that the LORD will come with open arms and save those who put trust in Him. We are looking forward to the Dedication of Christ Our Savior in 2021 which will serve as the sign of His resurrection; Christ conquers evil.
Despite whatever happens in life during this time, every day and so often, GOD continues to bless us: many have recovered from this deathly virus; food to sustain our bodies and souls; the front line workers and peace officers; working from home; the time we have with each other, especially parents of newborn children; being involved in our children’s learning; taking care of our elders. There are many things to be THANKFUL for. For me, this year, I especially thank God for the few special persons whom I’ve met on this earthly path, or whom I have shared my daily life with. With their phone calls, emails, words of encouragement, reassurance, and those making time to see me even though we have to wear masks and keep distance, they have helped me through this difficult time. With that, we need to pray for the souls who passed away this year. We mourn the loss of those whom we didn’t get a chance to hug, to kiss, or to say goodbye to. We miss our loved ones who moved away, the closeness of human contact from the ones we care about.
January 25, 2020, was a special day for most Asian countries as it was the beginning of the Lunar New Year, the year of the Rat. With COVID-19, most of us are acting like rats or mice. We stay away from other humans or shelter-in-place; we come out when no one is around or physical distance; we eat alone or bring food back to a secluded room to eat; cover our faces with masks like a mouse or rat hiding from other people. The next lunar year, the year of the ox, will begin on February 12, 2021. I wonder what God has in mind for us in 2021.