As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in my house in the middle of New Jersey where the state has pretty much placed us under house arrest during this pandemic.
I think all too often we take for granted the normal lives that we live here in America. We’re too caught up in the daily motion of going to work, making money, blowing that money on bars and sports tickets, and then repeating that cycle all over again. Don’t get me wrong, I always love a good bottle of Corona (pun intended) and I’m a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan, but privilege is never more evident than when we lose normalcy.
I found myself stuck on social media listening to the complaints of all my family and friends about their lockdowns, and I tried to ignore it until I came to one post that caught my eye. It said “Good News: The Coronavirus has defeated the Catholic Church and shut down every church nationwide.”
The maddening part about that state is that the “Good News” is actually the Gospel, and our while our lives have been upended by this crisis, Catholics are still saving lives and performing ministry every day during the lockdown.
I couldn’t help but be struck by the similarities to the upcoming Holy Week liturgies. The mocking idea that the Catholic Church has been destroyed by a virus is just like when the Romans nailed a sign over Jesus on the cross that said “The King of the Jews.” The mocking soon turned to disbelief when three days later Jesus Rose from the dead.
The Church is the Body of Christ. He promises to never abandon us. While many churches are taking financial hits or even losing parishioners by being closed for so long during this pandemic, Jesus will resurrect our Church from this crisis as He has resurrected Himself. The reality is that we are facing an unprecedented time in Church history in the United States and many other places in the world, but the Church has withstood the test of time. We have faced worse circumstances and weather stronger storms than the Coronavirus, all through the real grace of God.
These times are tough- I have sick relatives as well as at-risk family members. We can’t work, so thus our pay has been cut. Schools have been cancelled, GPA’s are suffering, and the world is at halt. Yet, Jesus Christ is still King. The Churches may have closed their doors to public mass for now due to safety, but the Church is still alive with Christ at the center, roaring like a lion. When this crisis is over, no force on Earth or in hell will stop the power of God from rushing through this world and rebaptizing us with a new sense of life. Saints will be made from this time and love will flow abundantly.
So it can be easy to doubt the Church during this time and believe they’ve left everyone behind. It can be easy to mock the faith and accuse it of being defeated by a virus just because public mass has been suspended. It can be easy to nail Jesus to that cross. But we shouldn’t despair and we shouldn’t doubt, for the King is still alive.
Hail Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe.