Celebrating our Faith during COVID-19
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By Bishop Larry Silva
April 05, 2020
[Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, Honolulu (private; live-streamed)]
Sometimes God takes a long time to fulfill his promises – but he always does!
I think this reality can be a comfort to us as we want the Lord to put an end to the devastation this coronavirus has already wrought, and to do so NOW. Yet for another week, and who knows how long after that, we isolate ourselves in a communal effort to bring down the curve of infection and stop the spread of the potentially deadly Covid-19.
As we celebrate Palm Sunday today, we begin our Mass with the reading of the Gospel of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Many centuries before, right there in that very same place in the world, God had promised to his beloved King David that his house would last forever, and that his descendant would sit on his throne forever to rule over the House of Israel. And for many generations after David’s death, his descendants did sit on his royal throne. Some were good, but many were evil, leading the people astray to worship false gods or simply to ignore the true and living God who had chosen Israel as his special people. So they were led into captivity, and Jerusalem and its holy Temple, were destroyed. There was no king in Israel for centuries. But today we see the triumphal entry of the Son of David into the Holy City. People thought that God had forgotten the promise he had made to King David, but he actually fulfilled it in a way they could not have imagined. And so Jesus, the Son of God, enters the city as King and Son of David, amid acclamations of praise.
But within days, not years, the hope that this restoration of the King to the Holy City had now taken place was dashed by the condemnation, torture, and death of Jesus on the cross. The Son of David was no longer, laid in a tomb to rot like the rest of mortal humanity. Hopes were dashed. There was depression, disillusionment, and great disappointment that the One who seemed to be the Savior everyone had longed for was now cut down. But within days of that great darkness that covered the earth, a great light blazed when Jesus rose from the dead three days after his death. It seemed that God had abandoned his chosen one, but it was not so. Jesus now lives forever and ever and occupies the throne of David forever, not just to rule over Israel but the whole world.
As we pray and pray fervently for an end to this devastating coronavirus, we want it to disappear NOW. But instead of healing and health, more and more people are becoming seriously ill, many unto the point of death. Like Jesus himself on the cross, we might cry out “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” because we may feel abandoned by God. It seems that all the promises of fullness of life that God made to us through Jesus are laughable in the midst of such a crisis that so adversely effects the health of some and the economic well-being of all. But we are called to be a people of hope who believe with all our hearts what we cannot yet see. We do not know when this pandemic will end, but we are confident that it will end. Meanwhile, we hone the virtues of patience. We pray more ardently that the devil, who prowls about for vulnerable souls, may indeed be renounced whenever we are in temptation. We find new ways to care for one another and to reach out to those who are most in need. But we hold our heads high, knowing without any doubt, that our Redeemer is near at hand. We sing our Hosannas to the Son of David, because he we already know that he was defeated by the infection of hate and pride, yet he defeated hatred, pride and death itself in his resurrection. We wait – for God knows how long – but we wait with great hope in the Son of David, the Messiah and our King of Love forever.