Lent: A Journey in the Desert
Greetings my dear brothers and sisters inChrist! Welcome to the Fourth Sunday of Lent. Here we are making that turn from the midway point of our time in the desert into the homestretch, heading toward Easter Sunday!
I find it ironic that it was during our Lenten season last year (in fact about this time last year) that our churches closed. It was as if we were truly in the desert, being cut off from attending Mass, celebrating together with our parish community, and most importantly being separated from physically receiving the Eucharist. In fact, for some they entered into their Lenten journey in 2020 and have never been able to come out of the “desert”. Because of COVID-19 many of our brothers and sisters remain isolated from their parish community. Yes, through the gift of technology we have been able to celebrate together virtually, but adding those who are not able to come now would only serve to enhance our celebrations all that much more!
In a sense, we are all somewhat still stuck in the dryness of the desert because, even though our churches are open and we are able to celebrate at the Lord’s table, we are not able to fully worship with song. This is a key element of worship and prayer for a number of people who I know.
Even being able to touch Holy Water and bless ourselves as we come into church has been a key piece that has been missing for me. The lack of water definitely mirrors any sort of desert journey. It is a good thing that we have Jesus, the Living Water. As the Gospel of John reminds us
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14) I continually pray for all those who are not able to join us and for all who still feel that separation of not being able to worship in the fashion that we were used to prior to our world changing.
Now as we enter into the final weeks of our Lenten journey, we can have hope! It looks like we may be coming out of the desert. More and more people of our parish communities are receiving the vaccine and feeling comfortable to once again return to our churches. Also, it looks as though we may be able to return to singing in a limited capacity for Holy Week.
May these concluding days of Lent bless you and bring you hope! May we all be ready to receive that Easter Joy and exclaim with a loud voice that “Jesus Christ is Risen!”