The Pastor's Column

Fr. Lara's Lines

Coping and Commemorating

Our community copes with Covid19
It has been a roller coaster of emotions during these past few weeks. It seems as though we have been going through the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargain, depression, and acceptance). We are all grieving the loss of our life before the coronavirus when we used to go places, gather in church, participate in public events, shake hands and give hugs, and go out to restaurants and coffee shops without worrying about being exposed to a virus.

The first few days, we were in denial. I heard “It’s happening in China and other parts of the world, but it wouldn’t happen here; we will take care of that.” Days later I heard “I know there are a few cases in the US, but I don’t know anyone who has been infected; there are no cases in Glenview.” It was just the matter of time before the virus reached our own community and people we knew. Denial was not an option anymore.

Some people became angry, offended, and hurt at the whole situation. “The government is not doing enough,” “Why do we have to stay home?” “I can’t find what I need in the stores,” etc. Our reaction was to find someone to blame. We became irritated by the new reality, but there was no way back.

A few days into the lockdown, we tried to see the bright side of things. “It is helping us to realize what we have in life.” “This is bringing families together.” “The world needed a break.” When things look bad, there is always a silver lining. It seemed as though the news was constantly blasting the worst-case scenario, but we knew we needed to get the most out each day.

Undoubtedly, there were some bad days. When we didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, when we couldn’t go out or get together with friends, when we saw the market collapsing before our eyes, when we learned about more cases in town. That was pretty depressing and it sure felt like there was no hope, but...

This too shall pass. I believe we have accepted the new reality. Although we know this has changed our lives, we are hopeful we will be able to do the things we love. We have recognized that there are many things we took for granted. We all have agreed to do our part so that we can overcome these hardships. We have accepted the new reality, but we know that this scary, confusing, difficult, unforgiving, trying time will only make us stronger.

Holy Week
During Holy Week, the Christian community commemorates the passion and death of Christ. This is the holiest week in the liturgical year, since through the Lord’s passion and death, he has redeemed the world. Holy Week starts on Palm Sunday and ends with the Easter Vigil.

On Palm Sunday, the Church recalls the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem. Jesus knew that he was supposed to go to Jerusalem to do the will of the Father. He is received by the crowd as king and Lord, recognized as the messiah but in a worldly sense. During this Palm Sunday, might we be like the crowd receiving Jesus into our community? Let us receive him not as a worldly king but as God the savior of the world.

The Paschal Triduum
The liturgies of the Paschal Triduum are a commemoration or a reliving of Jesus’ last days. We are called to participate as if we were there. The holy liturgies happen outside time, so God is redeeming his church in the present time when we celebrate them. We believe that what Jesus did almost two thousand years ago, he is doing for us now—calling us to conversion and giving the gift of salvation. The tradition of the Church tells us that what happened once in history passes over into the mystery of the Church’s liturgical celebrations.

On Holy Thursday, we commemorate the day Jesus instituted the Eucharist. Holy Thursday is also the day Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. That sign of service is to be imitated by all of us: “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do” (John 13:15). After the celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the faithful are encourage to adore the Blessed Sacrament or to spend some time in prayer.

Good Friday commemorates Jesus’ death on the cross. We venerate the cross because it became the instrument of our salvation. Entrusting his life to the Father, Jesus bore our sins and infirmities. He was obedient unto death and won for us eternal salvation.

Holy Saturday is the culmination of Holy Week. Christ’s passion and death is a great act of love that leads to his resurrection. The love of God triumphs over the power of death. The Easter Vigil is the mother of all liturgies. It tells the story of Christian salvation. As the paschal candle is carried into a darkened church and the light begins to spread and cast away the shadows, we hear the ancient hymn of rejoicing, the Exultet. This is the night we celebrate that the Lord has truly risen, risen to bring us new life.


Fr. Lara