I greet you warmly (despite the frigid temperatures) on this Thursday of the Second Week of Easter. The word “Quarantine” comes from the Latin for 40. Depending on your native tongue, the word for Lent may have some similar derivative, relating to the 40 days of the Lenten season. Last evening at the dinner table Father John and I were discussing how long this lockdown over Covid-19 has being going on. Well, we closed the office and cancelled the public celebration of mass on March 17- and progressively we began to live under more and more restrictions. This Saturday April 24 marks 40 Days. The 40 days are almost over but alas our quarantine is not. It appears that we will be living through these days for some time yet; we have no idea when they will end. Despite the occasional bit of good news we are not out of the woods yet.
For the last two days the psalm at daily Mass has been Psalm 34 with the response, “The Lord hears the cry of the poor.” I think many of us are wondering if the Lord is hearing our cries. The last stanza from this morning’s psalm (April 23rd) was “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord rescues them from them all” Because these days of confinement have continued for so long our spirits are feeling crushed; our hearts are breaking. The news of the virus is bad enough but there was also the horrible massacre in Nova Scotia this week. This morning I listened to a story of the economic devastation happening in Bangladesh as there is no work for garment workers. Without work they have no food. The cries of the poor go up to the Lord.
This coming Sunday the Gospel for Mass will come from the Gospel of Luke as we listen to the story of the Road to Emmaus. On the day of the Resurrection, two disciples are fleeing Jerusalem out of fear, fear that they too may suffer the same fate as Jesus. When the Risen Lord comes and walks with them they are sad, downcast and afraid. But as Jesus journeys with them, opens the Word of God to them and breaks bread with them (the “Breaking of the Bread” being a reference to the Eucharist) their spirits are transformed. Now they are able to return to Jerusalem and share the Good News that Jesus is risen from the dead.
We are the poor whose cries, whose prayers go up to the Lord. Our hearts are breaking and our spirits are being crushed but the Lord is walking with us to encourage, strengthen and give us hope through the power of His Resurrection from the dead. Our cries go up to the Lord but we have courage because we know that it is Easter, that the Lord is risen.
Father John and I thank-you for your continued prayers and kind support. Like all of you it is difficult to stay positive in these circumstances. Things are silent, there is not much to do and our church building is locked, dark and cold. It is not the same. But we persevere through the power of Him who loves us.
Please join us for our live-streamed Mass at 9am Sunday on the parish Facebook Page. We enjoy seeing your comments and I know that many of you appreciate the ability to connect with us and with one another.
Here is the link to the Facebook Page.
Again we thank everyone who has sent in their regular Sunday offertory we are in much need of your continued support. If you go to the parish website you can find a link on the home-page to the Hamilton Diocese special Covid19 offertory fund. Please make sure to select St. Paul the Apostle in the drop down menu. We will also have the forms for pre-authorized debiting up there as well if you would wish to fill out those forms and send them to us. Cheques can also be put in the mail. We are in the process of applying for the government wage subsidy program and if we qualify that will help as well.
We continue to pray for our world and for one another.
In the name of the Risen Lord,