JONES: Even in darkness and isolation, Easter comes
April 14, 2020
In recent weeks, there was much uncertainty about the celebration of Easter. In light of the decisions being made at present across all segments of society to take reasonable and prudent steps to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo directed that public celebration of all Masses be suspended. Parishes are now offering the opportunity to view Masses either through network television or other livestream options over the internet.
I prayed as to what I should write about for this column amidst these uncertain times. It was then that a familiar voice came on the radio; Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York was being interviewed. During this interview, he stated that the phrase “Do not be afraid” or some variation of it is in the Bible a multitude of times both in the Old and New Testaments.
Dolan continued as he commented that this year’s Lent has been especially difficult for us with the coronavirus (COVID 19) situation. Typically, we are asked to pray, fast and give alms during Lent. Across the country, people have been praying desperately for the end of this horrible illness, for the health of their loved ones, and for those who are on the front lines of defense such as doctors, emergency personnel as well as for our leaders.
Across the globe, people have had to fast from their normal routines, whether going out to eat or celebrating in crowds. They have had to isolate themselves and spend time in solitude.
This particular point in time has opened up many people’s hearts and wallets. Donations to food pantries are up; distributions of food to children who depend upon the school system to supply their meals are making the news. Yes, we are in the throes of praying, fasting and giving. We must remember that for every Lent, there is an Easter.
Yes, Easter, when Christ’s light vanquished the darkness of fear and sin. He is alive! We must celebrate because there is hope… there is always hope! On that first Easter, there were no Masses, no Easter eggs, no chocolate bunnies; just the joyous realization that Christ had beaten death and arose from the tomb. There was celebration!
Like the first disciples, who were fearful not knowing what the future would bring, we also have gone through a darkness of not knowing. But Easter comes. Easter is here!
During a time when people may ask, “Where is God?” it is important to know that God is still here. Our churches may be closed, but our Church is still here. The Body of Christ, the people, the institution that Christ founded is still here. Do not be afraid; have hope; our Lord did indeed rise from the darkness of death, and He is here with us… always. †
Deborah Jones is an associate director with the Archdiocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.