The Pentagon ordered 100,000 body bags. Authorities secured refrigerated trucks to hold the dead. The entire economy screeched to a halt. All schools closed. All concerts and sports events cancelled. And the worst, no public Masses. Pope Francis, praying in an eerily silent, empty St. Peter’s square, shouts anything but normal. Nothing is normal during this pandemic. Yet amid the closures and anxiety, I’ve noticed a few of the faithful have posted online, “They can’t cancel Easter!” So true, you can’t cancel Easter. But as usual, Easter won’t be normal!
Her husband died suddenly. After listening to her heartbreak, this woman, deep in grief, began speaking about the life she and her husband had created. She became animated as she spoke of their family, friends, travels, and adventures. She then saddened and whispered, “But after all these years, I’m not sure I really knew his heart.” Never knew his heart? Her comment shocked me and then led me to reflect on my relationships: “Do I really know the heart of my husband? Of my children, my grandchildren, my friends? Do I know their prayers, desires, hopes, dreams, disappointments, failures, sufferings, and heartaches?” In prayer the next morning, the thought came, “Do I know, really know, the heart of Jesus?”
The newborn baby lifts one brow, attempting to open her eye, only to surrender, and the lid slides down. She then raises the other eyebrow, but without victory. Desperate to see, her entire forehead forms a wave of wrinkles, and slits appear. For one moment, her eyes open, as if peering through a blind, and then shut, for the light can be too painful. Yet Jesus came to open eyes, to bring light, and to reveal truth—no matter the cost.
When voicing enthusiasm about our grandson entering high school, I noted Freddy was excited about playing high school baseball. A man, whose son graduated last year, cautioned: “He may be on one of several freshman teams, but by senior year only a few players will make the varsity team. Don’t set your expectations too high.” Nothing like squashing one’s enthusiasm. Actually, this man was just trying to prepare us for a letdown. As parents and grandparents, we pray life’s disappointments won’t hurt or crush our children.
Our three-year-old granddaughter, Merete, loves to “love on” her six-month-old baby sister, Genevieve—all the while sneaking in a pinch or two. In spite of these "affectionate" squeezes, Genevieve feels love and will grow in love, top to bottom, from all the loving she receives from her family. It’s beautiful to witness people loving one another. As Jesus says, we must love ourselves, our neighbors, and even our enemies. Sounds like Jesus demands a lot of “lovin’ on” others for the kingdom of God.
The blog on this page presents reflections on the Sunday readings through the lens of a parent/grandparent, aiding leaders of the domestic church in their vital task as “first heralds” or “first preachers” of the Good News in the home.