This weekend, the Archdiocese of New York canceled all Masses. The letter announcing this news stated, “In light of the continued concern surrounding the coronavirus, and the advice of medical experts, all Masses in the Archdiocese of New York will be canceled beginning this weekend, March 14-15, 2020.”
While it saddens me that Masses have been canceled this weekend in the Archdiocese of New York, I understand the decision and the difficulty in making this decision. I accept it as God’s will because I have come to know over the years on numerous occasions that He truly works in mysterious ways.
Daily, Weekly, or Annual Mass
Like many other Catholics, I value the Holy Mass so profoundly that attending the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist is not just a weekly practice but a daily one for me, by the grace and goodness of God.
However, we must acknowledge that a significant number of Catholics throughout the world do not possess the luxury of having several parishes nearby or within traveling distance and certainly do not have weekly Masses available to them. In fact, they’re fortunate and blessed if they are able to attend a single Mass per year.
Suffering and Sacrifice
Friends, given the present pandemic, many (and many more people than we can imagine) are currently suffering – some physically, some psychologically, some others emotionally, and still some others spiritually because of this pandemic.
In times of sacrifice, we are called to let go of what is precious or valuable to us for the good of others. It’s a lesson that Lent tries to teach us every year. We still have yet to learn this.
A Lenten Call to Practice Greater Solidarity and Sacrifice
No Mass beginning this weekend in the Archdiocese of NY may signify that we have an opportunity to join in spirit with those who are unable to attend Mass regularly – the sick, the elderly, and those who live in remote areas throughout the world without a house of worship or an available priest. It’s also an opportunity to offer it up as a prayer for those who are suffering, those who have suffered greatly because of this virus, and those who will eventually suffer.
Maybe our Faith invites us to say to God our Father: “O Lord our God, see how much I desire to be close to You and that You visit me with Your Divine Presence. As much as I desire this, I pray that You generously visit, touch, bless, and heal those that have been and are suffering from this illness. And by Your powerful and merciful Hand, dispel into non-existence this pesky bug, and blow forth Your purifying Spirit of renewal over the face of the earth to bring about order, peace, charity, and harmony. We ask this in the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.”