God’s Wake-Up Call To What’s Most Important!
Although it is ordinary time in the church year, I think it often feels like Good Friday these days. Don’t you?
With all of the immense suffering the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has caused – with no end in sight – the millions of people who have lost their jobs, the murder of George Floyd, the subsequent scattered riots amidst mostly peaceful protests, the somewhat clandestine and intimidating armed actions of anonymous federal agents against protesters in Portland, Ore. – with President Trump threatening more of the same in several other U.S. cities – it’s tempting to give into a sense of depression and anxiety.
And when we additionally consider – as we should and as we must – the ongoing tragedies like war, poverty, hunger, homelessness, the refugee crisis, climate change and abortion it feels more and more like Good Friday.
But I think it would be helpful during these rough times to deeply reflect upon what our Lord and Saviour did for all of us on Good Friday’s Cross: Jesus absorbed the entire evil of sin – all of the prideful, hateful, indifferent, selfish, greedy, violent, lustful, slothful thoughts, feelings, words and actions of every human being who ever lived, and who will ever live – and he filtered all of this hellish stinking garbage through his Sacred Heart and gave it back to each one of us as merciful, unearned, pure love! And thus saved us from our sins!
But in order for this supreme sacrificial gift of our Lord’s salvation to be personally effective in our lives, we must open our hearts and minds ever more fully to accept it by picking up our cross daily and follow in his footsteps.
For Jesus clearly said, “Whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
The late deeply insightful theologian Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar said, “It is the Cross that the Christian is challenged to follow his Master: no path of redemption can make a detour around it.”
On Friday, March 27, 2020, with the deadly coronavirus increasingly raging throughout the world, Pope Francis presided at a Lenten prayer service and extraordinary blessing “Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) – before an empty St. Peter’s Square. This strikingly, out of the ordinary, deeply prayerful event, highlighted in a mystical way a heavenly call to humanity to pay serious attention to what is most important in life.
Pope Francis declared that during this pandemic crisis we are being called to make a choice between “what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not.”
He added, “It’s a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others.”
Take time to prayerfully watch Pope Francis’ Lenten coronavirus prayer service. And if you already did so during Lent, do it again. For by refreshing your experience of our Holy Father’s deeply insightful, inspiring prayer service, you will be more equipped to handle the ongoing pandemic and better able to discern what’s most important in life and how you can best make a difference (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcUqLrbi9Cg).
Every moment, of every day, is a precious gift from God! And we would do well to cherish it, celebrate it, and wholeheartedly share it.
For like sand in an hourglass, our lives steadily move toward our last day, our last moment … of mortal earthly life.
So don’t waste a moment!
Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at email@example.com.