March 22, 2020
Today we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Lent. Last weekend we heard of the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman where Jesus reveals Himself as the Living Water. In today’s Gospel Jesus reveals Himself as the Light of the World, able to bring light to those in darkness, even physical blindness. In the Scriptures, God typically calls leaders who, while flawed and sometimes sinful, are nevertheless fundamentally loyal to God. An exception to this was the first king chosen to lead Israel, Saul. In today’s first reading we hear of God choosing another King, the youngest son of Jesse, David, who will turn out to be a man after God’s own heart. God looks beyond David’s youth and sees someone who will be capable of following God wholeheartedly. The readings from the New Testament writers make it clear that receiving new life in Christ entails personal transformation. To be reborn in Christ is to be rescued from the darkness of this world and to live in the light of the Lord. At the end of today’s Gospel, Jesus says that He came so that those who do not see may see, and those who see might become blind. A man born blind comes to Jesus with the desire to see. He receives his sight because he knew he was a sinner. St. John parallels this man with the religious leaders who, while having sight, are spiritually blind, but they don’t know it. They have a choice, but as so often in this part of the Gospel, they refuse to see and are blinded to the Light of the World. “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”
With the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), measures to ensure the safety of people, especially the elderly and those with existing health conditions, have been implemented throughout the country and in our churches. Communion from the Cup has been suspended, holy water fonts have been emptied, the Sign of Peace has been changed, people are encouraged to keep a healthy distance from each other, and guidelines for purification of vessels and the method of reception of the Eucharist (now encouraged to only receive in the hand), are all changes that Catholics are facing. Schools have been closed, the faithful have been dispensed from the obligation of attending Mass this week and next, and we are receiving more directives from our Archbishop, all in order to protect us from the spread of the virus. We take this current situation very serious and know that by good hygiene and common sense, we can all have a part in keeping one another safe. I encourage all of us to stay vigilant and attuned to these changing times and do all we can, individually, to ensure we protect family and loved ones. I also encourage all of us to pray for all who have been infected and for the protection of all in the medical profession and our first responders. Last week it was reported that the Church in Italy lost almost a dozen elderly priests from this virus, and expectations are that number will rise. Our government is doing all it can to protect us. Let’s all do what WE can.
Finally today, on behalf of the parish I want to publicly thank the family of Al & Mary Dowling for the gift of a new portable Mass Kit in their parents’ honor. It is a very special gift that will be used in pastoral visits to Allegro when we have Mass for the residents and a special way to honor both Al and Mary. I especially thank their family for this beautiful gift.
God Bless! Happy Lent!
Remember those 3 Hail Marys (Fr. Pete)