Fifth Sunday of Lent - Sunday, March 29, 2020

Father Fred Scinto's picture

Father Fred Scinto

March 25, 2020

Today is also the National Collection For Development and Peace (please give generously to this worthy cause when you can do so).

At this time we are in a devastating horror because of the presence of the corona virus globally.  We need truly to depend on God to deliver us because it is a very difficult unhealthy complicated situation that is doing so much harm.  Can today’s Eucharist help here?  Absolutely and powerfully!  So let us now  consider today’s appropriate and inspiring texts; they certainly will help us get and stay encouraged.  God certainly will and does help us be carriers of Good News that can heal ourselves and our devastated world.

In fact, today’s biblical texts fit perfectly for this purpose and so let us listen carefully to them in the Holy Spirit so that we can minister to a world that is ravaged by COVID-19.  For us, this constitutes resurrection to new life.

Now let us consider the biblical texts assigned to this Sunday.

If you have it, use the text of the Entrance Antiphon from the Third Scrutiny in the baptismal program for catechumens: text sources like Living With Christ contain the text.   It is a perfect description of the present horror of the world with the corona virus.  And note in the Collect (Opening Prayer) that we are called to act “out of love for the world.”  Right now, today, this is so true and needed! Note the words in the first reading from the Prophet Ezekiel that are so prophetic about God’s amazing love for us, i.e., “I [God] am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves.” Our

Responsorial Psalm declares God has the great power in love to redeem us; pray this earnestly in Mass.  God will do so for us now!

The Second Reading from the Letter to the Romans tells us clearly that the (Holy) Spirit is a Spirit of Life Who raised Jesus from death and Who resides in us.  We have the Power within us collectively to resurrect the world saturated with the corona virus – so let us do so! God promises us here in His/Her Word that we can do so – so let us do so! Observe that today’s Gospel Acclamation from John’s Gospel has Jesus saying “I am the Resurrection and the life.”  In Faith, may we all count on Him in strength and knowledge to help us restore our planet!

The Gospel is the resurrection of Lazarus.  Note here how almost impossible the situation seems to be: enemies want to stone Christ; Lazarus is rotting in the grave for four days; Jesus takes His time in doing what He is going to do; there is a huge stone in the front of the grave and Lazarus is all tied up in death! And yet – Wow! – The miracle does it – god’s power in Christ succeeds in restoring life here wonderfully!

Note the outstanding promise of God to us in the Communion Antiphon from John’s Gospel – a promise already made in today’s Preface (“leads us by sacred mysteries [in today’s Mass] to new life.”) The Prayer After Communion shows us that this task of “new life” is a collective community effort.  The Mass is over – let us do so!

Please follow the Ten Commandments below (actually there are Fourteen Commandments):

-Follow the community guidelines scrupulously that have been set up in your area;

-Especially and seriously follow the guidelines of social distancing and staying at home and washing your hands;

-Do the best you can to take really good care of yourself and your family (including pets);

-Pray, pray, and then pray some more;

-Make hefty donations for good causes;

-Stay in touch, e.g., by telephone, with the important people in your life;

-In Charity, do some tasks for those who are close to you (geographically) who are elderly and/or weak;

-Be patient with people: we all are struggling;

-Do not go to stores and buy stuff to hoard;

-Challenge those who are breaking the guidelines;

-Be grateful here, especially for our leaders and all those who are working hard to take care of us and those who are frontlliners;

-Enjoy the time off and actually enjoy this;

-Relax; learn how to do this; be grateful for this possibility which is absolutely needed in our too-fast unhealthy culture; and learn how to slow down healthily;

-And keep up to date on things via our media; there is so much good coverage here.

God bless you all and keep you close at this difficult time. Amen