DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST,
We are in our journey of Lent, the season of sorrow, the season of remembrance of Jesus’ passion. In the past, we spent this time spiritually preparing ourselves and looking forward to the rituals of Palm Sunday, the Holy Week, and then Resurrection Sunday. We sobbed, joyful to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection. Our communities, our choirs, and even catechumens and candidates looked forward to the Resurrection with excitement.
This Lent, however, we find ourselves experiencing an indescribable fear and sadness. Every day we hear news about the pandemic and its effects around the world, and today it is here, across America, in our state, in our city, and even in our neighborhoods. Everywhere we go we hear the news on TV and on YouTube of the coronavirus from Wuhan that makes our lives seem more fragile. We are facing a challenge that we have never experienced, and we are shocked and annoyed that our usual routines have been interrupted. We feel the collapse of the material world that we have invested in.
We are, however, fortunate to be among those who believe in God and His abundant love. We are strengthened when we read the Scriptures, especially John 16:33 which says, “I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” And in the Book of Joshua, “I command you: be strong and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD, your God, is with you wherever you go.”
Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, we must take courage and be strong, because we know God is walking with us on the way to Golgotha. We should make an effort during this time with our families to share with one another our moments of grief and happiness, our anxieties, and our hardships, and we should take this opportunity to renew our loving relationships. We should stay connected with our friends, family members, and those with whom we have lost touch because of our busy lives. And we should set aside some time for family prayers during these precious moments.
Finally, come to the Lord in online Masses to find peace, to pray, and to experience God’s love. Please join me in our prayers for the world, for the United States of America, and for Vietnam. In particular, let us pray for the patients who are fighting this deadly disease, and especially for the doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who directly confront the dangers of this disease both day and night. Please ask God to give them the health and patience to overcome this challenge.
May the Lord bless us all and grant us peace in our hearts and bodies. May our Lady of La Vang protect us from the tragedy of the current pandemic.
In Christ and in our Lady of La Vang.