Rejoice Sunday with COVID-19 Pandemic?
The Fourth Sunday of Lent is Laetare or Rejoice Sunday because we are already more than halfway in our Lenten pilgrimage. Since Ash Wednesday, if we are faithful to the demands of Lent – doing penance, fasting/abstinence, and acts of charity, which are basically about giving up or sacrificing something in us, Rejoice Sunday means we are almost Easter and our Lenten sacrifices are almost over. That’s why it is Rejoice Sunday in our liturgical calendar.
But are we in a Rejoice Sunday as we face with the dangers of COVID-19? Are we happy with what’s going on right now?
I am pretty sure, we all say “NO” because we are in fear and our life is in danger against COVID-19. We are all afraid right now and it’s not easy to celebrate the Rejoice Sunday.
Let us humbly turn to God’s Living Word and reflect on His message for us:
The Gospel of John talks about Jesus as the Light to a blind man. By giving sight to a blind man, Jesus reveals that He is our only and best Light amid fears and dangers of COVID-19. Like the blind man, we, too, have received the gift of faith which will enable us to “see” the wonders of God’s love in ourselves and around us.
The gift of faith will help us see God’s power amid dark realities. In the First Reading from the Book of Samuel that tells us about the selection and anointing of David as the King of Israel, the Lord told Samuel: “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart.” We are called to turn to our gift of faith in God for power and strength and see the amazing power of His love for us.
We are going to be vigilant and disciplined as we fight against COVID-19, but we have to conquer and win this fight with our gift of faith in Christ our Light. We use the lenses that we received in our Baptism because St. Paul in the Second Reading reminds us that we were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Was that darkness worse then than COVID-19? Yes, because we were all dead without Christ’s saving intervention on the cross. But Christ’s victory over sin and death, He made us children of the Light. In this darkest moment of our human history, Christ calls us to unleash the power of faith in God to lighten our present darkness.
Finally, how many accidentally bumped into something or someone, and nastily told or yelled at: “Are you blind? Can’t you see?” How did you answer? Did you get angry at these remarks because you are convinced that you are not blind, and it’s simply an accident? But have you realized that it’s better to admit that we are blinded, that we don’t see as well as we should, that we don’t see the obvious, that we can’t see beyond the physical realities?
In many ways, we accidentally bump into COVID-19 and found ourselves blinded and don't see the obvious. But, have we fully known the truth of God's greatness in us?
A sixty-year-old woman living in a mid-western town was finally prevailed upon by her family to see the eye doctor. She had never worn glasses in her life. The doctor gave her a thorough test and asked her to return in three days when he would have her glasses ready. He fitted the glasses and asked her to look out of the window. Almost breathless, she exclaimed, “Why, I can see the steeple of our church, and it is three blocks away.” “You mean you have never been able to see that steeple at that short a distance?” asked the doctor. “Gracious no”, she declared, “I never knew I was supposed to see that far.” “Madam”, said the eye expert, “You’ve been going around for years half blind!” Similarly, many cannot see the truth which God has made known to us…. (Msgr. Arthur Tonne)