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By Father Raul A. Sanchez-Flores
St. John the Evangelist Church, Wasco 

Pastor's Corner - April 9, 2020


Last updated 4/10/2020 at 7:26pm | View PDF

Where is God in times of crisis? Perhaps we can easily relate ourselves to that question due to recent events that jeopardize the life of the masses. But now, is really God away from us?

We just celebrated the 5th Sunday of Lent. In the Gospel of John 11:1-45, proper to that Sunday, we heard a character Martha who said to Jesus: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” This came from a person that, according to the scriptures, was close friends with Jesus. The Messiah used to go to the house of Martha and her brother Lazarus and her sister Mary.

When Lazarus got very ill, the sisters sent a word to Jesus asking for help, but it seems Jesus did not care much about it. He even stayed two more days where he was with his disciples. Sadly, Lazarus died, but Jesus was not there. Martha confronted the person she thought was their friend, “Lord, if you have been here, my brother would not have died.”

Maybe we feel like Martha in this time of crisis and it seems Jesus is not around. Did he not promise to be with us, to feed us with his body and blood?

It is a tragedy the deaths of so many due to the coronavirus pandemic. Recent reports suggest that only here in the U.S. up to 100,000 people may die. We are in a time of crisis. What are we going to do now?

It is okay to go to Jesus to ask him for help, and like Martha, we may confront him and express to him that we feel overwhelmed, that this is too much for us to handle. Perhaps in this time of brokenness is when God’s grace is ready to work in us.

Martha thought that their friend was away and careless of her needs. But as the Gospel suggests, in John 11:1-45, Jesus was always there. This Jesus is not away from us, either.

Before the coronavirus pandemic maybe we did not care much about the large number of people that die due to crime, bullying, drugs, abortion and so more. Perhaps these tragic events may wake us up. Perhaps also in this time that believers and nonbelievers are forced to live in quarantine we may learn to appreciate freedom, friendship, family and attendance to Sunday Mass. Furthermore, perhaps we may become new people that care for the needs of each other.

God is never away from us. Jesus has the power to bring us back to life but only if we allow him. It is true, we cannot go to eucharistic celebrations due to the current restrictions, but it does not mean we cannot pray as a way to connect with all believers.

In a recent letter, our Bishop Joseph Brennan stated that this is our chance to revive the “domestic church,” the family. He encourages us to pray as a family, to recite the Holy Rosary, to fast and to reinforce family ties. I myself invite you to work with your quarantine partners.

I encourage you to watch our Live Masses on Facebook that we are celebrating on Sundays at 10 a.m. in English and 12 p.m. in Spanish. Let us pray that this time of crisis will end soon. But let us not forget that we are always in time of crisis since crime, abortion, drugs and other human disorders do not go away. But, God is not away as we may think sometimes. Jesus answers all our needs in this way: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26.

Raul Sanchez-Flores is pastor of St. John the Evangelist Cahtolic Church in Wasco.


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