How We Endured the Pandemic of 2020 Day 3

March 21 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, In Psalm 46 verse 10 we are reminded that God alone is God and God is sustaining us: Be still and know that I am God Be still and know that I am Be still and know Be still Be May we know what our ancestors in faith have known, that even in our darkest or most difficult hour we are being sustained by a compassionate God who pains with us in the great act of solidarity and love who is Jesus Christ. May we be in solidarity and love with one another and our world. Fr. Leo

How We Endured the Pandemic of 2020 Day 2

March 20 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, We are quickly moving beyond the quasi-normal experience of preparing for a hurricane. We know when hurricane season begins what we need to do, it’s almost routine. We know that in a matter of days and sometimes hours we have endured another storm. But this is different. The not knowing and waiting is new for most of us. Being anxious, having insomnia, and worrying, etc. is part of the challenge of this pandemic. It is unsettling! Yet our biblical history is full of unsettling situations from which new life arose. From the Hebrew Scriptures to the New Testament, God has worked in the unsettling disruptions of life. Amos, a caretaker for Sycamore trees, was disrupted from his task and was called to be a prophet (Amos 7:14). Ananias, who laid hands on Paul/Saul (Acts 9:10-16) makes his resistance known to God. But both of these faithful men ease into the disruption in their lives and in doing so allow God’s work to be done. Life as we once knew it has changed and we do not know what the future holds. But we can take solace in the reality that God works, sustains and loves us through the disruptions of our lives. So we move forward, perhaps in ways unfamiliar to us: taking a walk and enjoying the beauty of the day; cultivating a prayer routine with our spouse or family members; reaching out via phone or text. This is an important time and a great opportunity for all of us to see, experience and know each other and God in ways that are new and perhaps unfamiliar. Let us move forward into this disruption with faith and great compassion as we work with God to do something new in our lives. Below are some ways to move forward: When my family lived in Okinawa on the Air Force base 55 years ago, we used to go on drives in the car, with no destination in mind. It was great family time. Gas is pretty cheap now so you may want to go on a leisurely drive. Also, there are numerous videos online to help you move and exercise since the gyms and YMCAs are closed. Here are a few Internet links that might be helpful and spiritually uplifting: Daily meditations by Fr. Richard Rohr Contemplative Outreach Lenten reflections by Bishop Robert Barron Bottom line, do something positive and don’t watch the news all day. Always, may God’s peace be yours, Fr. Leo

How We Endured the Pandemic of 2020 Day 1

March 19 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Day 1 of church closure at St. Andrew Unfortunately, there has been and will be lay-offs for thousands of people; many who may worship here at St. Andrew. This is a hardship and can add to the already stressful situation that we are experiencing. Therefore, it might be helpful to develop a life-giving routine that provides you with focus and structure as we all wait for resolution. We each belong to a God who is always inviting us into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and each other. This “free-time” can be used to renew, rebuild and reconcile relationships. A prayer, a note, a text, a phone call, each have the power to draw us closer, to one another and in turn to Christ. In the coming days or weeks, I hope to put together a day of refection or/and a daily prayer/mindfulness routine, something you can do at home, which may be helpful in your own spiritual development and growth. Be assured that I keep you in prayers especially when I offer mass. There are a few announcements that I have received that I want to share with you today: Please check out the Diocesan website with the message from our Bishop: www.orlandodiocese/landing/. It is pretty much the same as what was in the email you received yesterday from me. Just as importantly, below the Bishop’s message is a button for donations/offertory to the church. The Diocese has established this link because parishes still have to operate and pay bills and salaries, even though the church is closed. All of us are affected by this virus in one way or another and we do not yet know when we will be in the church and have the normal offertory collection. Therefore, using the donation link will be of great help during this difficult time. The Pope has asked us to pray the Luminous Mysteries of the rosary together at 4pm today. I encourage you to join our Pope and millions of others in praying the rosary asking the Blessed Mother in intercede for us. Always, may God’s peace be yours, Fr. Leo Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:1-5