Joshua 1:9 tells us, “Be strong and of good courage, be not frightened, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Praise God; we’re finally emerging from a place we’ve never been before! It was in March when we inexorably plunged headlong into a pandemic that was abruptly foisted upon us.
Stores closed, services we relied on were no longer there. Panic set in. The stock market took a free fall. Grocery stores experienced long lines extending well into parking lots, for goodness sakes. People hoarded toilet paper, of all things, as well as cleaning and disinfectant products which we needed to keep us safe.
The only time some of us may have experienced anything like this would be during the Harvey flood. It too was surreal, filling us with fear and uncertainty.
The past couple of months have actually been akin to what many imagined the end of the world, or at least the end of civilized society, would look like. In its darkest moments, we may have been driven to wonder and ask, “Lord, IS THIS IT?!!”
As with Harvey, one thing sustaining Catholics in this over-40-day-long journey through the desert has been access to our priests and daily mass with its prayers and sacraments.
Whether on Eternal Word Television Network or livestreamed from churches like St. Martha’s in Kingwood, we “connected” with our priests who give their entire lives to serving God and His people. We were even honored to have prayed with Pope Francis in a live broadcast of Easter Mass from the Vatican.
We’ve joined the entire national and international community of Catholics, all sharing identical readings of the Old Testament and the same Gospels from the New Testament daily.
We’ve known we were not alone in this. We even felt more connected to Christ for Christ himself read the Psalms, recalling God’s goodness, justice, mercy and kindness. The Psalms of Lament cry out to God in difficult circumstances, applicable to this current state of affairs.
During many gloomy COVID-19 days, an antiphon such as Psalms 18(17):5, 7 started Mass with great comfort:
“The waves of death rose about me;
The pains of the netherworld surrounded me.
In my anguish I called to the Lord,
And from his holy temple he heard my voice.”
Mass at home inspires kinship with family, friends, neighbors and even non-believers who happen to tune in.
As a lifelong Catholic, I never before realized how “spot on” prayers at Mass could be in difficult times. I was so touched by one responsorial palm early in Lent that I forwarded it to family.
“The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea …
God is in its midst, it shall not be disturbed; God will help it at the break of dawn.
The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
May is the month that we honor Mary, Our Mother, and the Mother of God. We pray that just as she interceded at the Wedding Feast at Cana, she now, being so close to Jesus in heaven, will ask him to look with mercy upon us and the whole world, for that matter. That Jesus, as he does so many times, will grant Mary’s intercession on our behalf for health and for prosperity to return again quickly.
To this we say, Amen!