May the peace and joy of the Risen Christ be with you. Hello, everyone.
The readings for this Sunday’s Mass provide us with two examples of hope and assurance that we are not alone and our faith gives us the resiliency to endure difficult days. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear of the early community: “They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart praising God and enjoying the favour of the people. And every day the Lord added to their numbers those who were being saved.”
In the Gospel, “… despite the locked doors to the room where the disciples were cowering, the Lord stood in their midst and said ‘peace be with you.’”
These trying days of living with the coronavirus certainly challenge us to deepen our resolve to remain faithful to the Lord, to trust in him and know that he alone provides us with his peace and comfort and that he will see us through this pandemic. The Risen Lord reminds us over and over to “Be not afraid.” He is with us as together we rise to meet the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
We know we may have at least two more weeks of the stay-at-home restrictions. There is still great uncertainty about when life will return to normal. Clearly, this is a time of great personal challenge for everyone. Some have lost their jobs. We have seen the long lines at the food pantries. But I want you to know that our Church is doing its part to help those in need.
We have established an Emergency Response Fund to provide funds for parishes with limited resources to address the immediate needs of families and individuals in their parish communities who were impacted by the pandemic. The funds will be disbursed by parishes to people in their community who have become financially vulnerable as they scramble to cover the costs of food, rent, utilities and their health. Contact your parish with questions.
Throughout this current crisis our Catholic Charities continues to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, take care of the sick and provide many critical programs to help children and the elderly in our community. This important work of the Church is needed now more than ever. And they need your support. The generosity of the faithful is needed -- and appreciated -- now more than ever. If you’re able, please consider a donation of any size to Catholic Charities by visiting catholiccommunity.org/donate.
Remember to stay connected by watching the holy Mass online Sunday through Friday at 9:30 a.m. on the diocesan website. And check your parish websites for other opportunities to view Mass and connect with the Church.
My dear friends, the Resurrection – our encounter with the risen Lord – can actually only happen within the hidden chamber of our own hearts. That is where we meet him today – in our searching, in our prayer, in our pain and in our persevering love, in our trust that he will see us through this current health crisis and heal us and make us whole.
May we continue to deepen our resolve to open our hearts to encounter the Risen Lord and to have the courage to sing the Easter Alleluia by the very manner in which we live our daily lives.
God bless you and your family.