So...I’m certainly having a different Lent than the one I set my mind to those days before Lent. You too? The governor’s announcement has thrown my plans for keeping the parish open into complete disarray. I accept what Gov. Newsom is hoping to accomplish (flattening that curve of infections / not overwhelming the medical personnel and facilities).
As we move into this odd Lent of restrictions on our movements, and our current inability to work and support ourselves, I remember the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Ash Wednesday: “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to others to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you” (Matt 6:16-17).
That has a renewed meaning for us as we deal with enforced enclosure, boredom, difficulties in shopping, loneliness etc., that we are to do it with good will, with calmness, and with a supportive attitude to others who will be having a harder time than we are.
Regarding the parish:
I will leave you these words that have been attributed to Pope Francis:
“Tonight before falling asleep, think about when we will return to the street.
When we hug again, when all the shopping together will seem like a party.
Let’s think about when the coffees will return to the bar, the small talk, the photos close to each other.
We think about when it will be all a memory, but normalcy will seem an unexpected and beautiful gift.
We will love everything that has so far seemed futile to us.
Every second will be precious.
Swims at the sea, the sun until late, sunsets, toasts, laughter.
We will go back to laughing together.
Strength and courage.
See you soon!”