A little over a year ago on March 26, 2020, along with many of you I watched something I will never forget – the Et Urbi blessing offered by Pope Francis as a prayer against the Covid 19 Pandemic.
It was something I will not forget, an 83-year-old man, with one lung, visibly limping because of the pain of sciatica, walking and standing alone in a cold rain, in an empty piazza, wearing the simple house cassock that he prefers over opulent attire, praying to God on behalf of everyone and reminding all of us to care for one another. On that cold, windy, wet evening, Francis ministered to the entire world.
Since that blessing, the Holy Father has consistently reminded us that we must strive to remain connected with each other and that we must work together to come through a terrible time of world pandemic. He has called on world leaders to work together to find creative solutions to the economic and emotional toll brought about by necessary shutdowns.
Over the past year, Pope Francis has urged us to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. More than any religious or political leader, Francis recognizes and warns us that the world will not “go back to normal” after Covid 19 is brought under control because the virus has exposed the selfishness of the culture in which we live.
As Lent comes to an End and Easter appears just ahead, it is a good time to thank God for bringing us so far. It is a good time to pray for the many front line health care workers, doctors and nurses, and scientists who worked around the clock to develop safe and effective vaccines that protect against the virus and that will help to bring the pandemic to an end.
And it is a good time to pray for the family members and loved ones of those who did not survive the virus, and to remember the love and care they shared with us.
As we move toward Easter, may we all remember that we belong to God and to each other. Embracing the cross of Christ will help us find the courage to embrace the hardship of the present time and to embrace the needs of others. Good Friday was not the end or the last word. The last word was Resurrection.
Happy Easter to you and your families.
And rest in peace, Tim Haney.
Yours in Christ,
Greg Deacon Greg Kirk