March 22, 2020

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My self-inflicted confinement is almost over. I shall be back on Thursday the 26th. In the last two weeks the world has changed. We have not seen churches closed since the 1918 outbreak of the Spanish Flu. This Lent started in modern comfort but will proceed with the rigor that Christians have known before.

We are afraid for good reason. Comparisons of coronavirus to regular influenza might calm some of our fears and they might bring us to the realization that we may have been spreading disease and death rather casually.

Even though Christians, who know the Resurrection of Christ and who look forward to eternal life, can be unafraid if not even indifferent to death, we must understand and sympathize with those who know only this earthly life. Equally tragic are those non-believers who experience the glory and beauty of life and those who know only suffering. Death is equally cruel to both.

Pondering the accounts of creation in Genesis brings the realization that the most splendid work of God in all the visible universe is man made male and female in the image and likeness of God. That is you. You are the most magnificent of all physical creatures. Nonbelievers wanting to live as long as possible is hardly a fault. It makes sense. Yet the tragedy of death coming from sin should be felt most strongly by us.

The news that changed the world most dramatically is that brought to the Blessed Virgin Mary by the Archangel Gabriel. In three days we celebrate the Annunciation, the Feast of the Incarnation. Instead of coming as a disembodied voice from heaven, the Word of God is incarnate. With this body He will live our life and will suffer and die for our salvation. With His human body and soul, Jesus shows us the fullness of what it means for us to be human. We were made for eternal union with the Holy Trinity.

In the months ahead we can expect much of life to return to normal. I pray that being deprived of the Holy Eucharist will make our hearts grow fonder. The gift of the Blessed Sacrament is reality of Christ’s Incarnation overcoming the barriers of time and space. In Holy Communion we experience an earthly fullness that is only a taste of the life of heaven.

Living in the state of grace, which we received in Baptism and have restored in the Sacrament of Penance, was the task of medieval penitents who spent Lent without the Blessed Sacrament since they were preparing for Holy Communion on Easter. Now we are all penitents.

God bless us every one!

Fr. Christopher J. Pollard

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Heb 13,8