It has been a long time since you last received a post on this blog. Three years ago, I stopped writing here because I embarked on a new project, a podcast produced by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee called Two Guys and a Gospel. At that point, I thought that in order to be able to do the podcast, I had to stop doing something else, and I decided to stop the blog.
We are experiencing difficult and uncertain times due to the CoVID-19 pandemic. I do not know about you, but if this situation has any silver lining it is that it’s making me think a lot. But I did not want these thoughts to stay only in my mind. Instead, I wanted to write them down, which is how I work through my thoughts so they may become somewhat more useful to me. I also thought that maybe this could be something that would perhaps benefit others—so, here we are.
Now, some of these thoughts are theological. Some are philosophical. Some are very practical. Some are about human relationships. Some are about the economy. Some are about how I am managing my parish (pastorally and practically). Some are a mix of these things. Today I wanted to tell you about the few silver linings that may come along with this difficult situation.
In a podcast I was listening to last week, I heard the following statement: A crisis brings clarity. A great truth. The essence of things seems to jump to the surface. These days in which we are all experiencing a global crisis, we are also going to see many things much clearer than we used to. This new clarity will help us make better decisions as individuals deciding for ourselves or as members of families, communities and businesses.
A crisis will also push us to a place where we are going to do things that we never found time to do before. You know what they say: We let urgent things take over important things. Now, many of the important things have become the urgent things. Already I could give you a number of examples in my own parish—the reality I know more about, but I am sure you see it happening in your lives, also.
This clarity also helped me to see something theological that I had not understood so clearly before. It sounds so simple, so obvious, but so truthful. It was last Friday, while I was preaching at Mass. We read the first reading from Wisdom, an amazing prophecy about what is going to happen to Jesus, hundreds of years later:
“The wicked said among themselves, thinking not aright: Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training. He professes to have knowledge of God and styles himself a child of the LORD. To us he is the censure of our thoughts;
merely to see him is a hardship for us… Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”
God, indeed took care of him… but not by sparing him the suffering of the Cross. Clarity. God rescued Jesus, but not by avoiding death on the Cross. It does force us to think about how God is rescuing us from what we are experiencing these days. Our ways to look even at this may be different than God’s ways.