April 2 Reflection by Deacon Dan
Today is Thursday, April 2 and we are 3 days away from Palm Sunday and the beginning of the holiest week of the year. Instead of discussing which mass we will attend, which Holy Week events we will participate in or who will host brunch, we remain largely in isolation at home. Church leaders are trying to figure out how to bring Holy Week to our flocks while churches are closed. This will be an Easter that we will probably never forget.
For some individuals, the past few weeks have truly been a gift to reconnect with family and friends, slow down to read or do puzzles or give thanks to God for all He has given us. For others, it has been a time of great anxiety and fear; for many the fear is all-consuming.
The most commonly repeated phrases in the whole Bible, Old Testament and New Testament are “Have no fear”, or “Do not be afraid” or “Be not afraid”.
- Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with the Lord
- Joseph, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife
- Simon, do not be afraid, from now on you will be a fisher of men
- Paul, do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent
- I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more
- Do not be afraid, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom
- Do not fear what you are about to suffer
Fear is natural for all of us, which is why Jesus consistently reassures us to not worry and trust in Him. When a parent or teacher repeats something 3 or 4 times, it is important. When God repeats something 365 times, it is REALLY important!
In our gospel reading today, Jesus tells the Jews, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” Yesterday Father Jeremiah noted in his reflection that we are all going to die, our bodies turn to dust, but our souls do not. As faithful Christians, we know that Christ died for our sins so that we can live in paradise with Him forever! If we follow his commandments, we will never die. With that certainty, we have nothing to be afraid of.
We are experiencing a great trial in our lives. We all need to trust in God. Hopefully we come out of this with a greater appreciation for the mass and the eucharist, hopefully we are more vigilant in sharing our faith with others, hopefully we take less for granted.
I pray that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. I also pray that next week we will experience the greatest Holy Week of our lives, grateful for all that God has given us and all that He did so that we can live without fear.
May God bless each of you.