Pastor's Corner: Serving during the uncertainty of a deadly pandemic
July 23, 2020 | View PDF
This last Sunday we heard the parable of the mustard seed; “the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants… and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches” (New American Bible Matt 13:31-32). Perhaps this parable may help us understand how the Word of God may grow in a world thirsty of hope.
These are difficult times for everybody; lots of people losing their jobs, we are afraid of visiting family and friends due to COVID19, and above all and sadly, so many others losing their lives. This quarantine seems eternal; the light at the end of the tunnel is not visible yet. We need something to believe in, we need hope, and we need to bring God into our lives.
Every day seems harder to fulfill our sacramental life like going to church on Sundays to hear the word that will give peace to our souls in this time of crisis. You may know already that most churches from our Diocese of Fresno had to close due to the pandemic. However, all houses of prayer in the county of Kern are welcome to continue open and provide services. Nevertheless, this may change. Therefore, let us be very vigilant by observing all guidelines that will help us to protect ourselves and to protect others. Let us spread the Word of God, not the virus.
I began this article by bringing the image of how small hope seems to be. But it is like the mustard seed that grows and becomes the largest of plants and gives shelter to the birds of the sky, Matt 13:31-32. Jesus, as the light of the World, reminds us that the darker a room may be the brighter a light may shine. Perhaps this image may help us to understand that darkness is overcome by light, our Lord Jesus Christ. Like a tiny mustard seed, let us also grow in our faith by showing signs of devotion and by observing the sacraments of our church. The whole idea is to bear fruit like a grown mustard bush that gives shelter to the birds of the sky.
In this time of crisis, it is especially important to bear the truth. If we give voice to what really matters in life, we will be able to silence what it does not. The process of growing is more than being alive. This process means getting to a point in our life that we can decide to do what will benefit our body and soul. This process of growing is also to have the strength and the wisdom to avoid what may harm us.
May the Word of God grow in our hearts and minds so we can bear and be fruit for others. The church founded by Jesus himself offers to us the faithful the sacraments as channels of salvation. Jesus wants to feed our soul; let us allow him to plant good seed in our hearts.
Raul Sanchez is pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Wasco.