Our Lenten journey feels raw and frightening as we rise daily to news of the coronavirus pandemic and its tragic consequences. It feels like our lives have been turned upside down and the world is being shaken up.
Now for many of us Catholics and Christians of other denominations, it feels like we are swallowing the bitterest of pills in being unable to attend Masses/church services to receive the Holy Eucharist for an undetermined time. We cannot consume Jesus under the species of the consecrated bread, and have to watch Mass online while making an act of spiritual communion.
Never before in our lifetime have we faced such a predicament together across the globe. Our movements are being restricted and “social distancing” has become the new way of life. People are feeling anxious as they face personal and family challenges about their health, financial and job security, and uncertainty about what we can and cannot do indoors and outdoors.
Today’s Gospel reading focusses on spiritual blindness and how we must turn to Jesus for true sight and healing (John 9:1-41). We are being called out of darkness and into God’s “marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Many of us may feel that we are trapped or in darkness physically and spiritually at the moment.
There is no such thing as coincidence, but ‘God-incidences’ which surround us at every moment. Everything happens for a reason, and we must remain hopeful that God will use this difficult time for good in the end.
In the meantime, we must take these moments and turn them around to benefit our souls, be still, reflect within ourselves, and pray today’s Psalm 22:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff—
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.
Can we let this sink deeply into us today? “I fear no evil; for You are with me”
What else can we do?
We of course must pray to Almighty God, to Jesus, and for the intercession of Our Blessed Mother, for this virus to stop, for our protection, and for mercy upon our world. But I ask that we also focus on St Joseph, Spouse of Mary.
“Ite Ad Joseph” – Go to Joseph.
Now is the time to turn to St Joseph.
The Feast Day of St Joseph on 19 March provides us with great hope. Did you know that St Joseph is the “Terror of Demons” and protector of the Church? We must turn to the intercessory power of St Joseph right now to heal the sick and save the world. We must plead for him to ask Jesus to have mercy on the world and humanity. Truly, more than in any Lenten season previously, we need to repent and return to God.
This challenging time calls for a strong response, not a weak one. Catholics are soldiers of Christ. Are you willing to take up the challenge?
Go to St Joseph and ask him to intercede for us for the end of this pandemic, to heal those who are sick, have mercy on those who have already died, renew and reopen our churches and Masses, and reorient humanity to God.
If you are willing to take up the challenge even further, watch the video below. This is not a promotion, but an opportunity to make a difference through prayer.
When this is over – and it will be over though we do not know when – we will love our Lord, our Church, and our Masses even more. But we must act now.
“Ite Ad Joseph” – Go to Joseph.
Sancte Ioseph, ora pro nobis!