This being my first Lent and Holy Week since ordination I figured they would be ones I would remember for the rest of my life. That they will be memorable is an understatement, though certainly not for the reasons I imagined. Unless something changes between the bulletin press deadline and Palm Sunday, I will likely be watching the Holy Week liturgies being livestreamed like so many others, wishing I could be there, like so many others.
Speaking of livestreaming, last Sunday Juanita and I joined nearly 5,000 others “participating” in our “new” noon Mass celebrated by Archbishop Vigneron! Watching is bittersweet on many levels. On a personal level, one that broaches the sin of pride, watching, rather than serving at the altar, at the side of our archbishop and Fr. J.J., is heart wrenching. There is an inner sense that I should be there fulfilling the duties proper to the deacon. But I also must remember my vow of obedience when I was ordained.
On a parish level and archdiocese level, watching is bittersweet knowing the Cathedral is all but empty during the livestreamed Mass. Yet there is something wonderful happening as evidenced by those nearly 5,000 others who were watching the Mass last Sunday. Seeing that number made me think of Jesus teaching then feeding the 5,000 with the few loaves and fishes (cf Mk 6:34-44). It showed our hunger for the Word, for the Eucharist, for Jesus to feed us as well. And if I could fast-forward to the end of the pandemic, it made me wonder how filled our churches and the Cathedral might be once the restrictions are lifted?
Our Father and his Son took one of the most despicable symbols of evil and hatred, the executioner’s cross, and turned it into a sign of love and reconciliation. If we remain open to the Holy Spirit, imagine the good He can do with us as we wait out this pandemic! In the meantime, please know you are all in my prayers and I can’t wait to see you soon.
In the Peace of Christ,