From the Pastor: March 29

Coronavirus and Human Life

Questions of the Week: How has the Coronavirus affected your outlook on human life? What does the raising of Lazarus say about God’s power over death and the afterlife?

When this Coronavirus outbreak started, I was with my own family members back in PA as we prayed for and celebrated the life and death of my Aunt Kate. She was 95 when she fell asleep in the Lord. She lived in the beautiful little town of Chicora, PA. This small community was nestled on the side of a hill with Mater Dolorosa Catholic Church on top of the hill. Aunt Kate’s house was about half way up the hill. From that vantage point, one could look across the valley, where the old train trestle bridged Chicora Hill with another hill on which was the cemetery. My cousin Melissa, Kate’s daughter, and many others had been praying for Aunt Kate. They had lost their dad (my uncle John) 4 years back and it was very hard on Aunt Kate being married 68 years.

Well, to the surprise of my cousin, on the morning of Aunt Kate’s death, she had come down to the kitchen for some coffee, before going back to be with her mom, and when she looked out the window across the hill to the cemetery, there was a bright light- very strong and visible around the very place where her father, my uncle John had been buried. The light seemed, to her, to resemble the figure of a person, but being at a distance, one could not be sure. She was deeply moved and tried to take a picture that did not come out too well because it was taken through the screen. Still, it definitely made an impression on my cousin. She remembered her dad and his love for her mother. She really felt it was a sign from God that her mom would be going home soon. And sure enough, just as the day ended, and a new day began to dawn, Aunt Kate slipped away very peacefully.

My mom and I were also praying, even though we were hundreds of miles apart, and both of us had a strong sense that Kate had passed away. We got word early in the morning that indeed she had. The words of Jesus in our Gospel this weekend come to mind:

“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.”
We are all being faced with the threat of this coronavirus which we know has killed people throughout the world. Even here in Ann Arbor, there have been some deaths at the U-M Hospital. We started Lent with the words, “Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust we all shall return.” So, this virus has highlighted those words for us again.

But Lent is not about death, but about life! Lent reminds us that Jesus overcomes death and has power over death. In Him we are alive! Our bodies will die, but as Jesus said, “whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live.” God wills our life!

May the Lord help us remain strong in faith, fervent in prayer, and committed again to acknowledging Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life. May God bless you all.