Virus & Parish “Us”

Without having planned it, this emergency situation has come to us precisely in the Lenten season. Hopefully, this present time of silence and a desert-like feeling will help us empty ourselves of any selfishness and lead us to a true Easter conversion. Let us recognize the Son of God in the suffering face of so many sick and their crying families.

Unintentionally and entirely against our will, these days confront us with the reality that we are not omnipotent. The limits of our imaginary boundaries are limitless during this time. We have to recognize and accept this – both during this trying time and in the normal times of our lives. Like Lent, this virus forces us to embrace the limits and the weaknesses that are inherent in the lives of every one of us.

What does Madagascar and Pewaukee, WI. have in common? What we’ve always had and will have in common. Our simple human lives.

This time awakens in us the importance of our deep and necessary relationships, especially those who need to be isolated or live alone. Family and friends can only be the beginning of reaching out to others. They are the building model that teaches us how to be sensitive to peoples all over the world.

This epidemic has no nationalistic feelings. The “Us vs. Them” that often plagues nations and peoples has been unfortunately but rightly replaced by the plague that erases the “Them.” It knows no borders. No one is exempt from this disease and its possible consequences. No one can escape!

“Sensitize us, Lord, to the reality of discrimination and insecurity of so many people who live in a world troubled by fear and doubt for any number of reasons.”

In normal times, how can we alleviate any discomfort and bring a glimmer of hope to those distressed? Kindness is priceless during any moment of our lives.

With the celebration of Holy Week and Easter in jeopardy, what does it mean to the Resurrection of Christ in the midst of a situation filled with apprehension and death? Can this fearful situation, never witnessed in our lifetimes, help us to pray in a different way…with more depth…not allowing fear to speak louder than hope, not hoarding in order to share, washing our hands carefully yet never, like Pilate, washing our hands toward those in need.

Before this present calamity, we were loudly and daily distracted by cultural noises and silly preoccupations. Can we learn and become quieter in order for God to speak louder to each of us? Interestingly, I happily haven’t heard about the Kardashians for a while…or Harry and Meghan. Ummm.

Can we never lose sight of our call to communicate life fully? Both within ourselves and in our actions with others? The God we know and whom we make known is the God of life and Resurrection. For the survivors, can this time live within hearts that proclaim that God has no limits, nor does death have the final power over us. We never succumb under the empire of a fear of dying, so that we do not become a counter testimony of the Resurrection.

Let this period, however long it lasts, strengthen the bonds that make every church, every faith, every faithful gathering – a demonstration, a tribute to the frailty of the human condition as well as the strengths when our lives work together, honoring and celebrating our union in Jesus Christ.

This beautiful church appears to be empty this weekend. In silence, we can hear the creaks of the wood surrounding us. This church isn’t empty. It is full of your thoughts and prayers when we are all filling ourselves with hope within your homes and hearts. Please remain safe and healthy.

I began with the phrase, “Unintentionally and completely against our wills.” What higher call then an inner trust in God, harmony toward all, and the Risen Christ’s peace to fill us.”

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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1 Response to Virus & Parish “Us”

  1. David Wallace says:

    Debbie has been helping our neighbor order groceries from Pick and save. We are donating our nitrile gloves to the fire department.
    Really missing the grandkids.
    Praying with a bit deeper conviction these days.


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