It’s sad that because of this pandemic around we cannot do our usual Lenten rituals in Church. These are rituals I’ll surely miss, being more of a deeper devotion and love rather than just plain rituals. Not only me and my family but many others as well will be missing these solemn practices of faith. Who could imagine that a pandemic this huge could envelop the world and its advance technologies? Yet we have to be creative in our worship while ensuring the solemnity of this season of Lent, now almost ending, on its Fifth Sunday.
Today’s Gospel (Jn. 11: 1-45) is clearly sharing with us the similarities of what the Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection will look like. St. John gave his opening observations on Mary, the sister of Lazarus, the one who anointed the Lord for burial. He also wrote the tombstone being taken away, while also describing the coverings on the body of Lazarus, similar to his later observations of the Resurrection account.
This pandemic is a realization that not all the things in this world are important. It is proof that when there’s a crisis hitting the globe, everyone takes a hit regardless of who you are. Rich or poor, prominent or ordinary, old or young, everyone is a victim. Not even big sporting events, rich countries, or the privileged class are exempt. No one can imagine in his lifetime that with pandemic this magnitude, the world stands still even up to now. The end of this lockdown is still uncertain as it can go on for weeks or even months. Hopefully it’ll end soon, but only God knows.
If you recall last week’s Sunday Gospel, like the blind man, Lazarus represents all of humanity. He stands for all of us that God loves and wants to liberate from sin and death. The Lord gives Martha and Mary the insight that faith has power over death and the bondage of sin, symbolized by the stone being taken away.
The other day I was honoring my wife Alma for being such a strong and caring soul in the light of what we’re all experiencing right now. She’s always a courageous, inspiring and vibrant lady all through these years. It must be her faith. Also, I myself used to be so scared of darkness having encountered some hair-raising experiences when I was younger. Now, largely due to faith and trust in God, there is lesser stress and anxiety knowing that all these shall pass. I truly believe that this is in fact temporary, as compared to a permanent Heaven that we pray will be ours someday.
May the words of St. Paul (Second Reading Rom. 8: 8-11) resonate in us,
“But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin,
the spirit is alive because of righteousness. If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit dwelling in you.”
May our faith in the Lord continue to grow. May our actions be able to inspire others to trust Jesus more and more. May we persevere despite the threats of recent events to our faith and trust in God.
“I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will never die.” (Jn.11: 25a, 26)
(Thanks to Internet technology we can now “participate”in the Holy Mass through Facebook Live streaming. Among the Churches that regularly do this is the St. John Bosco Parish of Makati. This Sunday, I “attended”the 10:00 A.M. Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB. Visit their Facebook page for other Mass schedules and the calendar of events slated this Lenten Season and the coming Holy Week.)