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.
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.