Monsignor Yennock on God and the CoronaVirus - Homily from March 22, 2020

Mar 23, 2020

GOD AND THE CORONAVIRUS 2020. FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT 3-22-20

IN 1979 WHEN POPE JOHN PAUL ASKED THE PEOPLE OF POLAND IF THEY ACCEPTED THEIR ROLE IN THE WORLD ALMOST A MILLION PEOPLE SHOUTED TOGETHER: “WE WANT GOD- WE WANT GOD- WE WANT GOD.” THE PEOPLE HAD ENOUGH OF ATHEISTIC COMMUNISM. THEY WERE READY TO CHOOSE GOD OVER ATHEISM AND THE FORCES OF EVIL.

THE PEOPLE OF POLAND HAD SUFFERED SALVERY, INSULT, CRUELTY, SICKNESS AND DEATH AT THE HANDS OF A SECULAR, ATHEISTIC REGIME. THEY HAD ENOUGH OF IT AND THEY LONGED FOR A SOCIETY ORGANIZED WTH GOD IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR LIVES.

WE ARE LIVING IN A SECULAR SOCIETY. GOD IS NOT IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR LIVES BUT IN THE MARGINS OF OUR LIVES. OUR BEAUTIFUL YOUNG PEOPLE ARE BEING TAUGHT THAT ALL BEHAVIOR IS MORAL. THE HOME IS NO LONGER THOUGHT OF AS A SACRED PLACE TO BE. IN SOME HOMES THE PEOPLE THERE ARE EMBARASSED TO MENTION GOD. PRAYER IS EITHER NON-EXISTENT OR HIDDEN.

GOD IS NOT IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR LIVES BUT IN THE MARGINS OF OUR LIVES. HIGH-PROFILE CATHOLICS AND OTHER CHRISTIANS HAVE FINALLY MADE IT IN THE MATERIAL WORLD. THEY HAVE MONEY, FAME AND POWER. WHY ARE THEY LEADING THE CHARGE AGAINST HUMAN LIFE IN THE WOMB? WHY ARE THEY LEADING THE CHARGE TOWARD VOLUNTARY SUICIDE AND EUTHANASIA?

GOD IS NOT IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR LIVES HE IS IN THE MARGINS OF OUR LIVES. WHY ARE THOSE WHO KNOW BETTER PUTTING ALL OF THEIR INTELLECTUAL AND MATERIAL RESOURCES BEHIND PERVERSIONS THAT HAVE BEEN FORBIDDEN BY GOD AND HUMAN SOCIETY FOR 5000 YEARS?

GOD IS NOT IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR LIVES. HE IS IN THE MARGINS OF OUR LIVES. WHY DO WE CONTINUE TO TREAT LYING, STEALING, BRIBERY, SLANDER, CALUMNY, HATRED AND DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER AS NORMAL HUMAN BEHAVIOR?

WE KNOW DEEPLY INSIDE OF US THAT WHEN GOD IS IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR LIVES WE ARE BETTER OFF. SO WHEN THERE IS AN UNEXPECTED CATASTROPHE THAT IS BEYOND OUR CONTROL WE RUSH TO THE MARGINS AND CALL HIM BACK TO THE MIDDLE. SUDDENLY WHEN WE ARE ATTACKED BY A PANDEMIC LIKE THE CORONAVIRUS THAT STOPS US IN OUR TRACKS, WE RUSH TO THE MARGINS AND SAY TO HIM WHERE ARE YOU? COME CLOSER, WE NEED YOU.

AT TIMES LIKE THESE WE MUST BE CAREFUL NOT TO TRIVIALIZE GOD. WE MUSTN’T TREAT HIM LIKE SOME GRANDFATHER THAT WE CALL ON WHEN WE ARE IN TROUBLE AND THEN FORGET ABOUT HIM WHEN WE HAVE RECOVERED. GOD IS NOT MOCKED.

IT IS GOOD THAT WE HAD A NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER. WE NEED TO BE CALLED TO PRAYER. THANK GOD THAT OUR LEADERS TOOK THIS SERIOUSLY. WHILE WE NEED TO PRAY WE ALSO NEED TO REPENT. WE NEED TO REPENT FOR HOW WE HAVE TREATED GOD AND HOW WE HAVE TREATED HIS IMAGE. WE NEED TO REPENT FOR BANNING GOD FROM THE MARKETPLACE AND RELEGATING HIM TO THE MARGINS OF SOCIETY.

AS CHRISTIANS, WE ARE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT HAPPENS IN OUR LAND. WE READ IN THE BOOK OF CHRONICLES : "IF MY PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME HUMBLE THEMSELVES AND PRAY AND SEEK MY FACE, AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS, THEN I WILL HEAR FROM HEAVEN, AND WILL FORGIVE THEIR SIN AND HEAL THEIR LAND."

THE MOST POWERFUL HEALING PRESENCE OF GOD IN THE WORLD TODAY IS WHAT GOD DID ON CALVARY AND AT THE LAST SUPPER—THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS IS GOD’S PREMIER POWER OF HEALING FOR THIS POOR BROKEN HUMAN RACE.

I AM CONTINUING TO SAY A PRIVATE MASS EACH DAY AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO LIVESTREAM MASS AT 4:00 P.M. ON SATURDAYS.

WHEN WE SAY THAT THE PRIEST IS OFFERING A PRIVATE MASS WE DO NOT MEAN THAT THE MASS IS SOMETHING THAT THE PRIEST DOES AS A PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL. WHEN I OFFER MASS I AM OFFERING IT AS A MINISTER OF THE CHURCH THROUGH HOLY ORDERS. THE WHOLE CHURCH ALL OVER THE WORLD IS INVOLVED IN EVERY MASS.

WHENEVER AND WHEREVER MASS IS CELEBRATED YOU MAY BE PRESENT WHETHER PHYSICALLY OR OTHERWISE.

THE PRINCIPAL ACTOR IN THE MASS IS CHRIST. THROUGH BAPTISM YOU AND I ARE INVOLVED IN GOD’S COMMUNION WITH THE CHURCH.

I ENCOURAGE YOU TO INTENTIONALLY CONNECT YOURSELF WITH THE MASS WHEREVER YOU FIND IT, ON LINE OR ON TV. PRAY THE MASS AS A FAMILY IF POSSIBLE. DON’T BE ASHAMED TO BEG GOD FOR A FAVOR. JESUS WAS NOT ASHAMED TO BEG WHEN HE SAID: “FATHER FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO.”

ON ST. JOSEPH DAY I READ ABOUT A CATHOLIC PRIEST IN NORTHFIELD NEW JERSEY WHO WAS BEGGING GOD FOR MERCY AND DELIVERENCE IN A VERY UNIQUE WAY. WITH THE HELP OF A PARISHIONER WHO WAS A PILOT, FATHER ANTHONY STEPPED INTO A PLANE. HE BROUGHT WITH HIM THE BLESSED SACRAMENT AND A STATUE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY. THIS PRIEST LITERALLY FLEW OVER THE DIOCESE OF CAMDEN AND BEGGED FOR GOD’S PROTECTION FROM THE CORONAVIRUS.

HE SAID: WHILE WE WERE UP IN THE PLANE WITH JESUS IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST, I CHANTED THE LITANY OF THE SAINTS BECAUSE THAT IS THE PRAYER THAT PEOPLE HAVE TRADITIONALLY SAID WAY BACK WHEN COUNTRIES SUFFERRED PLAGUES.

WHENEVER A DISEASE CROSSES INTERNATIONAL BORDERS WE CALL IT A PANDEMIC. JUST TO PUT THE PRESENT CRISIS IN PERSPECTIVE: CHOLERA, BUBONIC PLAGUE, SMALLPOX, AND INFLUENZA WERE SOME OF THE MOST BRUTAL KILLERS IN HUMAN HISTORY. SMALLPOX, THROUGHOUT HISTORY, HAS KILLED BETWEEN 300-500 MILLION PEOPLE IN ITS 12,000 YEAR EXISTENCE

HIV/AIDS HAS TRULY PROVEN ITSELF AS A GLOBAL PANDEMIC, KILLING MORE THAN 36 MILLION PEOPLE SINCE 1981.

HISTORY REVEALS THAT PLAGUES, PANDEMICS, AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS THAT DISRUPT OUR LIVES, DRAMATICALLY REMIND US THAT THERE IS A HIGHER POWER INVOLVED IN THE UNIVERSE. WHEN WE ARE CONFUSED AND LOSE CONTROL WE ARE READY TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE.

IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS MANY FAMILIES WILL BE SPENDING MORE TIME AT HOME TOGETHER. THIS IS A GOOD TIME FOR FATHERS TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE AND SHOW COURAGE AND LEADERSHIP IN THEIR FAMILY. IT IS A GOOD TIME FOR FATHERS TO LEAD THE FAMILY IN PRAYER.

OUR CHILDREN NEED TO KNOW THAT THIS IS NOT A TIME FOR FEAR AND ANXIETY. JESUS TOLD US MANY TIMES: “DO NOT BE AFRAID”. CHILDREN MUST SEE IN THE FACES OF THEIR PARENTS FAITH, REPENTANCE AND PRAYER—NOT FEAR.

IN 1979 WHEN POPE JOHN PAUL ASKED THE PEOPLE OF POLAND IF THEY ACCEPTED THEIR ROLE IN THE WORLD ALMOST A MILLION PEOPLE SHOUTED TOGETHER: “WE WANT GOD- WE WANT GOD- WE WANT GOD.” AFTER YEARS OF SECULAR POWER THAT PUSHED GOD BEYOND THE MARGINS OF LIFE, THEY LONGED FOR A SOCIETY ORGANIZED WTH GOD IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR LIVES.

REMEMBER WHAT WE READ IN THE BOOK OF CHRONICLES: "IF MY PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME HUMBLE THEMSELVES AND PRAY AND SEEK MY FACE, AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS, THEN I WILL HEAR FROM HEAVEN, AND WILL FORGIVE THEIR SIN AND HEAL THEIR LAND."

DO NOT RELEGATE GOD TO THE MARGINS OF YOUR LIVES. HE LOVES YOU SO MUCH THAT HE WANTS TO BE IN THE MIDDLE OF EVERY CRISIS. HE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN LEAD US OUT OF THIS PANDEMIC BY GUIDING ALL THE TALENTED AND DEDICATED PEOPLE WHO ARE WORKING NIGHT AND DAY TO ALLEVIATE SICKNESS AND DEATH.

LISTEN TO WHAT ST. PAUL SAYS TO THE EPHESIANS IN TODAY’S SECOND READING: “LIVE AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT, FOR LIGHT PRODUCES EVERY KIND OF GOODNESS AND RIGHTEOUSNESS AND TRUTH”.

KEEP GOD IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR LIVES AND LIGHT WILL EMERGE IN THE MIDDLE OF DARKNESS.

BEFORE HIS SUFFERING AND DEATH ON THE CROSS, OUR LORD COMFORTED HIS DISCIPLES IN THEIR FEAR AND CONFUSION WITH THE WORDS: “IN THE WORLD YOU ARE IN TRIBULATION. BUT HAVE COURAGE: I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.” (JOHN 16:33).