I offer this homily (and take off my hat) to any brothers who are celebrating Mass or live streaming during this crisis
Bottom line: during Holy Week 2020 we take up the cry of the Hebrew people, "May his blood be upon us and our children."
Welcome to Holy Week 2020! This is the most unusual Holy Week for me - and no doubt for you. Thank you for participating in this live streamed Mass. Do the best you can with postures and prayers - especially the Spiritual Communion prayer that I will offer after I have received. If you picked a pine, cedar or some other branch, fix it to your door (or above your door) after this Mass. It will remind neighbors about Holy Week. Next Sunday place some flower next to the branch to commemorate the most important day - Easter Sunday, the Resurrection of Jesus.
Since we received the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order I have been trying to maintain contact with parishioners by Flocknote, live stream Masses and phone calls. I asked our staff to generate a list of parishioners 60 and older. In the process I realized we need to work on our database. We need everyone's birth date and the telephone you actually use.
Even with our limitations, we were able to identify 200+ parishioners 60 and older. Most of the ones I contacted are sheltering in place. For many it is difficult not seeing their children or grandchildren. They are doing everything they can to stay healthy - hoping they can soon gather with their family - and their parish family.
Meanwhile we are trying to bring Communion in a safe way to as many as we can. Please let me know if you desire Communion and we will do our best. We have some dedicated young people taking Communion to homebound.
During this difficult time I thank all who continue to support our parish by electronic fund transfer, by mailing envelopes or a check made out to St. Mary of the Valley. Many of our families have lost a job and fear how they are going to support their children. And of course our St. Vincent de Paul has increased requests for help with rent, utility bills and food. We coordinate with other local organizations to help as we can.
Go to our parish website to see how you can support our parish, St. Vincent de Paul - and the Mary Bloom Center. If things are hard for us here, you can only imagine how they are for people on the margins in a country like Peru. It's so important for us to pray and to pull together.
This pulling together, this call to solidarity we see during Holy Week. It's about Jesus dying to save us all. Or as we say in the consecration prayer, his blood "poured out for many." Jesus died for all, but we have to accept his blood poured out for the forgiveness of sins.
In the Passion Narrative we just listened to we have this cry, "May his blood be upon us and our children." I don't know about you, but I want to have Jesus' Blood upon me. I recognize my sins have placed Jesus on the cross. I want to be washed in the blood of the Lamb. There's power in the blood of Jesus.
You know, we can see this power from a human point of view. Like most older people I have blood drawn each year, often several times. By analyzing a person's blood, they can tell a lot about one's overall condition. Many are hoping there will have a blood test to tell whether a person has coronavirus antibodies in their blood. In calling parishioners a couple have told me they had what they thought was a real bad flu, but after hearing all the coronavirus symptoms they are wondering if they may have had an early case. A blood test could answer that question.
Our blood has power. It contains anti-bodies against many diseases. If human blood can have such power, how much more the Blood of Jesus? Just like the blood flowing our veins can protect us from disease, just so the blood of Jesus can protect us from the sickness of sin. If sin grows unchecked, it becomes a sickness unto death. Only the blood of Jesus can heal and protect us. So, today and during Holy Week 2020 we take up the cry of the Hebrew people, "May his blood be upon us and our children." Amen.
From Archives (Year A homilies for Palm Sunday):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Ordinary Time leading up to Lent*
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Kurt Nagel
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru