April 12, 2020
I am usually hard-pressed to say anything on Easter Sunday morning except…ALLELUIA! Easter is truly the season of hope and joy…and that word…ALLELUIA! says it all…the perfect homily. What more needs to be said?
But this Easter, even though we are certain that THE TOMB WAS EMPTY…and, someday, ours will be as well, because of what’s happening in our world, it is hard to say or feel ALLELUIA! For one thing, we can’t even gather to join our voices in that simple but powerful word that expresses our faith in an endless future of joy and peace. And so, I search for words that can restore that amazing feeling that has washed over me every Easter morning for as long as I can remember.
Actually, the “words” came to me while I was sitting in the forced isolation of my car, waiting in a long line to do some unavoidable banking at the drive-through window. It was the first time I had left my home in over a week. I prepared for human contact by taking one of latex gloves a concerned friend had given me when we were first asked to shelter in place. I slipped the glove on my left hand when it was my turn at “the window.” I also had bleach wipes at the ready.
But when I took the little canister out of the delivery system (with my gloved hand) that connects patrons in the “drive-through” with the bank teller, I ended up with the plastic cylinder on my lap and against my sweatshirt. So, I tried to wipe my clothes down with the bleach wipes after I sent my deposit back into the bank. But within a few minutes, the poor bank teller (risking her life to be at work, facing the public) had to send it back because I forgot to endorse the check. I had to go through the whole process again.
I used the gloved hand to grab onto the plastic container, but, once again, it still ended up in my lap. I needed the other hand to take out the check. Then I endorsed it with the pen that was in the container that had been used by countless people before me. So out came the bleach wipes for another wipe-down. I sent the tube back to the teller. She made the deposit. And then, through the speaker, asked that I sign the receipt and send it back to her. And there was more fumbling, more contact, and more bleach wipes. As I was driving away, I realized that, in spite of every precaution I took, it was entirely possible that 10 minutes in a bank drive-through might well have cost me my life.
Short of living in a bubble, we can’t totally protect ourselves from Covid 19! And that’s exactly the case with our spiritual lives…isn’t it?
It is truly impossible to totally isolate ourselves from sin. Sin is everywhere. In spite of our most conscientious efforts, we cannot totally self-protect from this invisible enemy. Appreciating our dilemma, God’s Eternal Word took flesh, to dwell among us, and then willingly suffered, died, and rose to communicate a message. The message is simply this: I’ve got you covered! The Incarnation and The Paschal Mystery is God’s dramatic way of expressing our Creator’s unconditional love and infinite mercy for us.
Although constantly exposed and vulnerable, and often infected, we can move through this world without fear of death…because…Jesus is the cure. The empty tomb, and the reassuring post-Resurrection experiences were and continue to be Jesus’s way of telling us: Don’t be afraid! We’re all in this together. I’ve got you covered.
We Christians know this is more than a slogan. We know this to be true. All our faith and hope rests in Christ. By His Holy Cross, Jesus has redeemed the world. And so, even in the midst of a pandemic, isolated in our own homes, we can shout out with conviction…ALLELUIA! because Christ has defeated death.