May 18, 2020 Monday of the 6th Week of Easter
Psalm 149:1b-2, 3-4,5-6a,and 9b
In today’s reading from Acts an affluent business woman is very receptive to Paul’s preaching. The Psalm is full of joy. Then, in the Gospel, Jesus warns of persecution to come. How do you reconcile the hospitality of Acts and the joy of the Psalm with angst of the Gospel?
Our celebrating Easter joy in the midst of the global pandemic evokes a similar clash of emotions. We are inclined to ask, “Where is God in this?” God is right in the middle of it all. When anyone speaks up, quietly in their heart or loudly in an angry shout, God is listening. God is present whether we can perceive the Presence or not.
Many years ago a terrible tragedy in my brother’s extended family reduced me to silence. There was nothing I could say that would change anything. Then the whole town showed up at the wake and funeral of three family members. People told wonderful stories the family had never heard about the goodness of these three deceased members. It didn’t cancel the tragedy. But it gave reason for pride and deepened affection towards those who had died – and confidence that they would be well received by God.
In our current situation I believe that God is prodding all of us to take action – any action that we can muster to assist another.
When anyone phones a neighbor to ask how they are doing, or joins a volunteer group to assist others who are struggling, or uses their skill, affluence and prestige to enable a new project to help others to survive this is evidence to me of God’s presence and action among us. When anyone prays that another have the strength to survive another day, or a that a solution be found to the threat of the virus, or that the “essential workers” persevere and remain safe, God listens and in God’s peculiar, silent way helps to sustain all of us in our journey back to wholeness.
Fr. John M. Lee, C.P., the former Retreat Director of Bishop Molloy Retreat House, “The Passionist Spiritual Center in New York City”, is currently on Sabbatical.