These are such difficult times for us now—as there has always been for people during any time in human history. There is always a challenge to faith, always a struggle to continue in the face of sorrow and sadness, always the fear and anxiety as things happen around and in the world over which we have no control. The question is: How do we respond as a people, and as a Community of faith? Do we hide in the upper room?
Many of us may respond like the psalm (#31) for today: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” We may be overtaken by the dark feelings of despair and disconnection—something that all of us may feel at times—but we are all called to put these feelings in a faith perspective: to turn to God in all things; to let go and let Him; to cast away the dark and to trust that ultimately God works through all things for good!
In canceling the rest of the school year today (Thursday), the Gov reminded us that your children will remember well these times—hopefully not the fear and anxiety and financial worry—but so much extra time with Mom and Dad, all the activities and learning and eating meals and playing together! You have the opportunity to be a Psalm of Hope to your children and to those around you—like the people who go out on their balconies in New York City to cheer for the city hospital staff at shift change. Or those who have recorded incredibly lovely music for us—still practicing social distancing. Think of what people have done in sharing their gifts and talents in the arts to spark minds and hearts, or love of the natural world, or in getting physical or challenging our brains. God works through all things for good, even a pandemic, and no school. Our faith work doesn’t stop.
This Palm/Passion Sunday for the livestreaming of our Mass psalm, I will sing the Psalm of Hope setting of Psalm 31—and I will look forward to Easter Sunday and singing the Easter verses setting of the Psalm of Hope. “Lent” actually means “lengthen”—and derives in our language from the word for “spring.” This time is certainly one of mystery and uncertainty and sorrow for our losses, our many and varied deaths—but remember: the veil of the temple is ripped in two and the dead shall rise. Lent turns to Spring—a gift of a seasonal Psalm of Hope for our world.
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved and set me free! I once was lost, but now am found—was blind, but now I see!”
P.S. I am including a link of a zoom-recorded blessing from the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Choir of NYC of which my son, Elliott Encarnacion, is a member-tenor (2 columns from the left, third one down). It is a short, lovely, Celtic Blessing I want to share with you. Enjoy!
Just a Note: Today for reflection I include a “Prayer for a Pandemic” shared with me from my older brother, David Watson. David is a published author who taught Spanish and English at Cranbrook School for more than 35 years. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the non-profit “Casa Guadalupana” in southwest Detroit. “Casa” is an organization that provides family literacy (ie: tutoring English, etc.) to adults and children. This prayer is from Betty Granger, the President of the “Casa” Board. Thanks David and Betty for sharing!
Prayer for a Pandemic
May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors remember those who are most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making the rent.
May we who have flexibility to care for our own children when schools are closed remember those who have no such options.
May we who have to cancel our trips remember those with no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those with no margin at all.
May we who settle in for quarantine at home remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country, let us choose love
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors. Amen!
From the Archdiocese of Detroit: Christ’s death and rising is a grace that should shape every day of our lives, and above all in these days. In this time of trial, we are called to seize the grace of showing ourselves, by the power of the Spirit of Christ, to be, like Christ, filled with faith in God’s care for us.