11 April, Saturday – (7th reading) Dear World…

7th reading for Easter Vigil

Eze 36:16-17, 18-28
Ps 41(42):2-3,5,42:3-4

You shall be my people and I will be your God.

I have spent much of the past 2 weeks or so working from home, getting used to an unprecedented situation where we are about to shut down our campuses. While working from home is not new to me, it is something that many of my colleagues and staff are having to adjust to. And not everyone is coping with it as well as some of us in leadership roles would like.

For me, just watching my people try — and do their best — in these circumstances reminds me of how in times of crisis, the true character of a team is revealed. And I take heart from the fact that just as God never, ever gave up on His people, many of my peers leading teams who are searching for answers have stepped up — not so much in terms of expectation, but in terms of empathy. We are, for the most part, thankful to still have jobs and to be in an industry that is ‘recession-proof’. Having weathered more than a few storms before, I have seen how some managers have spouted the “You better be grateful that you have this job…now get on with it!” lecture to their charges.

At my workplace, we are all hunkering down and encouraging one another along. I sat down with my team (albeit half of them due to split teams) just a few days ago and said that no matter what happened, I did not want anyone who had a worried spouse, elderly parents at home or young children to care for to come in to work once we were given the go ahead to implement full telecommuting. So while we had worked out a daily ‘be at work’ schedule, I was happy to let those who were fearful, to work from wherever they felt at ease. Simply because I knew they would not let me down.

I think God has similarly given us a new mandate. No Masses, no chance to partake of Communion. That doesn’t mean He does not exist, nor does it mean that we have lost Him. On the contrary, He makes His presence known to us in many other ways; even on Zoom! It is in the midst of this necessary period of isolation that we start to look inwards even more — within our homes, our families. I am certainly spending more time with my 80-year old mother, getting to know her better (her new thing is Korean serials on netflix) and watching her get her exercise. I noticed new fish in our pond, a new orchid that bloomed. I am certain that most of us have ‘slowed down’ and learnt to appreciate all that our heavenly Father has given us. It brings to stark reality how he sacrificed His only Son for our salvation and on the third day, brought Him back to life.

I truly believe that the world as we knew it before COVID-19 was not in the best ‘frame of mind’. And I hope that as we come out of this pandemic, no matter how long it takes, we will truly appreciate His presence even more. In the clear blue skies, the brilliantly radiant sunsets, the music that is made from simple, everyday household items, the applause that rings out across blocks of apartments to celebrate each other.

I myself cannot wait to welcome the ringing of the church bells again. Because it is time for our world to experience a resurrection like never before. And for Him to entrust this world to us again.                   

(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Abba Father, we miss your presence in our churches, and in the Blessed Sacrament. We long to see you again in your radiant glory and pray that you will resurrect in us a new heart and a new appreciation of your gifts when we celebrate Easter in the quiet of our homes.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Father, for all you have given us and all you are going to give us, as we look forward to Jesus rising from the dead.

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