Dear Fellow Parishioners,
This coming week there are two milestones in the life of our parish and its schools: the second anniversary of the initial COVID-19 lock-down of our parish church and schools and, two years later,the lifting of masking requirements for our parish schools, effective Monday, March 14th.
These past two years have changed how we think about and relate to one another at all levels of private and public life. Even hair styles have changed, notably among school-age boys and a few adult women. After long periods of not visiting a barbershop or stylist, longer (and grayer) hair styles are back. (I noticed this on Ash Wednesday, with many youthful foreheads hidden behind impressive forelocks…).
Some students are bursting with energy, anxious to regain their freedom and spontaneity. Others havesettled into more aloof, internet-dependent social lives, and will need more time and encouragement to re-discover more personally interactive lives. Our youngest elementary students have no pre-COVID school memories. Our graduating seniors were born three years after 9/11 and have living memory of only three presidents,&including the incumbent. Among adults, political ideologies of whatever preference have made many edgy and more distrustful. Relationships grown distant due to the lockdowns may now need extra attention.&Time almost always moves more swiftly than we realize.
Add to all this the news reports coming out of Ukraine, both heartbreaking and sick – making. It is possible that large parts of the world have already been thrust into a long period of violence, destruction, and political and economic instability. Despite all of this, we cannot think and live as people who have no faith or hope.
This weekend’s Gospel features the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor. Just before the Transfiguration, Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do people say that I am,” and directly to Peter, “Who do YOU say that I am?” They finally began to realize that Jesus would not be a worldly king but a suffering Messiah. The road after the Transfiguration would lead through Calvary to Resurrection. This is an underlying truth of Lent: Through the desert and Calvary to Resurrection.
(1) confirms the witness of the Old Testament prophets who foretold the coming of the Messiah;
(2) affirms the disciples and us in our personal experience of Jesus as Son of God, and Messiah;
(3) gives us vision and encouragement for our Lenten journey. St. Leo the Great wrote that the principal purpose of the Transfiguration was to make the disciples forget the difficulty of the road that lay before them; and
(4) gives us hope of what we will become, what glory we will share, so as to help us through the adversity of this life with renewed strength, courage and hope.
Let us pray before the transfigured Lord for ourselves, one another, our country, and the people of Ukraine.
Fr. Bill Donahue