“Since the children share in blood and flesh, Jesus likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the Devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.” (Hebrews 2:14-18)
We have all been impacted by COVID. There is not one person in this country who has not been impacted by COVID. The level of impact may be different from one neighbor to the other, but we have all been impacted. Mask mandates, closed restaurants and businesses, toilet paper shortages, sickness and death. Sadly, the greatest victim of this virus is the Jesus. Mass was canceled across the nation, sacraments were withheld from Catholics either through closed doors of parishes or priests being refused entry to nursing homes and hospitals to provide sacraments to the dying.
If we believe, as our faith says we do, that the Eucharist is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ then it should have been the foremost “essential” during a pandemic. It should have been something our bishops fought to provide access to Catholics, and it should never have been a victim of COVID. If we believe the sacraments, specifically the Blessed Sacrament, provides graces for our eternal life then we should have never sacrificed access to something that would give graces for eternal life in favor of measures to try and protect our earthly life.
Now, we are in a time where the majority of parishes are open but limited. When we began concentrating more on what we should do to preserve our life here on earth as opposed to what we need to obtain eternal life then the world, believers and non-believers alike, are told by our actions that we do not truly believe in practice what we believe in words. Temporal and physical life became more important than eternal life.
No one likes to talk about death. The majority of people are afraid of death and dying. Sadly, that fear was brought to the forefront by us barricading ourselves in our homes for weeks, sometimes months, to try and avoid a virus. By us shutting down Mass and access to the sacraments in favor of quarantining at home, we placed our earthly life as more important than our spiritual life. The truth is the author of the fear of death is the devil. Satan laughed and celebrated as we hid inside our homes and the doors of parishes were locked. Satan popped a bottle of champagne with his demons as bishops provided dispensations for attending Mass if you were simply “afraid” or “not comfortable” in attending Mass because you might get the virus.
Jesus Christ has defeated death. Satan cannot defeat Jesus, but he can use the fear of death to keep us from the sacraments that give us graces for eternal life. Today, let us prepare ourselves to have heroic faith. The faith of the saints we celebrate. The faith of those who have laid the foundation for us. The faith who paved the path with their own blood.
Let us stop depending on our bishops and leaders to tell us what we need to do and lets just simply do it. We should not have to wait for a bishop to tell us to pray for our country. We should already be doing that. We should not have wait for the bishop to tell us to have faith and not fear. We should already be doing that. We should not have to wait for a bishop or the pope to tell us to read scripture, pray the rosary, and put Christ first. We should already be doing that.
We need to get back to the faith. We need to teach others to get back to the faith. We need to ask ourselves today….what am I really afraid of more: dying here on earth or eternal life without the graces from the sacraments?