Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
The news about the coronavirus over recent days can leave us feeling anxious and unsettled—and this is a completely normal reaction! But as we take seriously the advice of public health officials and follow their instructions to protect ourselves and our loved ones, now is also a great time to rely on the Lord more deeply and to care for the needs of the people around us.
Yes, we must take prudent actions, but our decisions don’t have to be based on panic or fear. They can be based on love. Our God is a mighty God who loves us and cares for us, and he’s inviting us right now to love and care for others. So let’s stay close to the Lord. Let’s remember St. Paul’s promise that God wants to give us his peace in the midst of trial and uncertainty.
I was reading the story of the three men in the fiery furnace these past few days (Daniel 3). If you have a few minutes, take a look at it yourself. These young men faced a very real and dangerous threat. But they entrusted themselves to God: If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us! But even if he will not, you should know, O king, that we will not serve your god (3:17-18). Rather than give in to fear or anxiety in a serious time of trial, these men relied on God. They even praised him in the midst of their danger!
In a similar way, this can be a time of grace and opportunity for us. Many events have been cancelled, and that means we may have more time to pray and reflect on the Scriptures, to praise the Lord, and to intercede for his people. What a blessing it would be if we could draw closer to him during these next few weeks of Lent!
Remember, too, that you are Jesus’ hands and feet. God wants you to be Christ to the people around you. He wants you to extend his love to them. Even if you can’t go out, you can still call someone and encourage him or her. You can devote more time to interceding for other people’s needs. If you aren’t in a high-risk age or health group and if you’re feeling healthy, maybe you can do the shopping for an older brother or sister. It’s important that we all care for one another even if we can’t do it in person.
If you are feeling anxious, ask yourself, “What would Jesus say to me right now?” Then imagine him telling you what he told the disciples when their boat was being battered by a storm at sea: “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27). Remember, Jesus is as close to you as he was to his apostles in the boat. Our Lord is still the Lord of all creation whose love endures forever.
Know that we at The Word Among Us we are keeping you in our prayers. May we all be confident in God’s presence and comfort more than ever before. He is so close to us!
Since many of us are unable to participate in parish Lenten activities. . .
We'd like to share with you a booklet that is focused on this holy season. Getting More Out of Lent, by Deacon Keith Strohm and Mark Hart, is a great resource that can help you deepen your relationship with the Lord. View online and download your free digital copy »
* iOS and Android app users, please visit this article on wau.org for the link to the free digital copy.