9 Oct 2020 | Posted by: chadmin
In his letter to the Philippians, we read this Sunday that St. Paul said “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” He says this after discussing the need to adapt to the situation before him. He learned to “live in humble circumstances” and “to live in abundance.” The missionary activity of St. Paul illustrates the call for all of us to be present to what the world provides and not force our will on the world. Whether it’s a family relationship, family dynamics, work situations, our economic condition, or a global pandemic, like Paul, we are called to evaluate the situation before us and adapt as Christ would. Out of love for God, Paul was willing to live with whatever blessing or challenge came his way, with the same love for God and neighbor. We all know that an increase in stress or anxiety can shake our stability, but the path to authentic living and decision making maintains itself on the rock of Jesus Christ. Essentially, Paul shows us how not to be consumed with the ever changing aspects of daily life, accept what comes our way, and remain consistently directed toward God in our words and actions.
It was exciting this week to see some kids at our neighboring school, Thomas Jefferson. I think they brought the kindergarten and first grade back to the building this week, with plans to start other grades in the near future. With my role as Pastor, I spend a lot of time thinking about the best ways to live with the reality of this pandemic. One constant I have seen is that everyone seems to be at a different place at any given moment. Fear has been one of the most challenging aspects for everyone. Unfortunately, I personally believe media and communication has been one of the worst parts of the whole ordeal for us. One line I keep thinking and saying is that “we have to live with this virus.” No matter the situation in life, we all have to learn to live with the situation before us. Over my years as a priest, I’ve found much inspiration in the lives of the Martyrs. Those saints that gave their lives for Christ instead of denying the truth of His existence. Essentially they took risks in order to seek out the good.
So much of my prayer revolves around safety and risk taking, staying with what we know to be true. Eight weeks into our school year, I can’t even explain how heartwarming it is to see the kids so happy at school and engaged in all aspects of the school day. Our teachers continue to adapt and provide safety in education that allows us to maintain our communal efforts. We went into the school year knowing that the kids need each other. They need to learn and develop and they need normal developmental conversation with one another. After experiencing the heartache many kids expressed with the spring school closure, I am so grateful that our community coalesced around a plan that allows us to be together. While certain unknowns remain, I am daily comforted by the medical field that continues to develop therapeutics and a future vaccine. All this reduces risk while challenging each of us to continue to do our part. As we approach the colder months, we are discussing the role of humidification, air filtration, fresh air, and air movement in our classrooms. The more we can reduce risk, the safer we can be living with this virus. Jesus’ number one topic was fear. He calls us to not be afraid, while using our intellect to best address whatever situation is before us. May the Lord graciously guide all of us through this pandemic so that we can celebrate life in communion with one another, while accepting our individual responsibility to care for one another.