For over a year we have dealt with the challenges presented by the Covid-19 virus. We have witnessed the dedication of many people, bringing us to the announcement this week from Governor DeWine that on June 2 most Covid-19 emergency health orders will be lifted. How far we have come together. So many signs have accompanied our journey. These “signs” are examples to us of the best of humanity. Although we have also experienced tragedy and loss, the underlying support and encouragement is our witness that God has journeyed this pandemic with us. He is with us always.
We celebrate the Ascension of the Lord last weekend and I thought about Jesus saying: “signs will accompany those who believe” (Mk 16:17) and “you will be my witnesses.” (Acts 1:8) Let us not try to close the door on this past year, but rather reflect upon and share the graces that we experienced. What are those “signs” in your own life that gave you the reassurance of God’s presence? How have you been called to be a “sign” of that presence to others?
Because of the Covid-19 virus, many of us, including myself were unable to attend Mass due to health issues. I am a Eucharistic Minister and a Cantor at my parish, and it is in these two roles that I feel my greatest love and passion for Christ. In Giving the Most Holy Eucharist to others is such a profound experience as I lift up the Holy Body of Christ and look into the eyes of the receiver and say, “The Body of Christ” there are no words to describe the humility and joy it brings to my heart. I have missed that dearly.
Being a cantor is also my passion to give thanks and praise in song. Indeed, it is like praying twice. I do miss the sound of the singing voices of the choir that I am in and as a cantor the responsorial songs from the parishioners. How fortunate we were that we were able to see our Parish Priest live-streamed yet feeling displaced and not in full participation with the Mass in the liturgical roles I participate in. Christmas and Easter are profound in proclaiming the goodness of God and the joy of our salvation found in Jesus Christ. This last year there were many times I cried watching live-streamed Mass, especially at Christmas Mass and during the Tridium and Easter Vigil Mass. During this time last year, although I could not attend Mass, the communal prayers continued, the Mass went on although with many restrictions Prayers were offered for the sick and for those who could not attend, thus we remained united in our faith through the Mass. Our Parish Priest, Father Workman began to write weekly letters that brought all of us closer together in the spirit of love and joy of Christ.
I thought a lot about this last year and I know that through diligent prayer and grace from God that we have persevered, we have worked hard, and a sense of normalcy is just around the corner. However, we should continue to be vigilant in our health choices and be open to providing compassion and support to others. Laziness can easily creep into our lives and catch us off guard. Let us be attentive to good responsible social practices and the awareness of the needs of others and to continue to be prayerful in our lives.
These beautiful spring days should give us all encouragement to witness the awesomeness of God and with Him all things are possible. In the spring we have the renewal of God’s creation found in flowers, trees, and grass. We look to that and now we can move forward despite the hardships of the last year. Remember that each of us are made in the image of God and that the Light of Christ shines in us. In doing this we do our part to spread the Gospel to the ends of the Earth.