As a child, I remember my grandmother often fretting about how “the world was coming to an end.” She lived during the Great Depression, and was not immune to hardship; yet for her, coping with the struggles of the 1960’s (the Vietnam War and fear of nuclear holocaust) was more than she could handle. Today, my mother says the same thing. She, too, is not immune to hardship, having grown up in WWII Germany. Yet the pandemic, and the world’s current struggles, just seem to be more than she can bear.
From the dawn of time, I suspect most people have felt this level of exasperation at one point or another. We all know we learn from struggle, but the cliché phrases, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” and “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” just don’t seem to cut it. I think the message we really need to hang on to is, “We are a Resurrection people.” While we certainly should reflect on Jesus’ Passion and Death, and learn from those stories, in the end, we must remember that Christ triumphed, and if we believe in Him, so will we.
Today is the feast day of St. Luke, the Evangelist. It is believed Luke was the author of the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, which comprises the largest portion of the New Testament. Possibly the only Evangelist who was not a Jew, Luke’s writings were directed toward the Gentiles in Rome. His Gospel focuses on the poor and on social justice; it is his book that iterates the story of Lazarus and the rich man. Luke’s writings also depict a special connection with the women in Jesus’ life as he tells the stories of the Annunciation, the Visitation, and the Presentation. Luke was a companion of St. Paul, and it is also believed that Luke was a physician.
Luke lived nearly two millennia ago, and his world was very different from the world in which we live today. Or was it? In the year of Luke’s death, AD 84, Christians were persecuted, people feared the government, disease was rampant, and the sick and the poor were ignored. Hmm… that actually sounds pretty familiar.
Many families have reached out to me over the past few weeks about the vaccine mandates, mask mandates, and continued COVID restrictions. Passions are high on all sides, and I can sympathize with every position. It seems as if many have reached a “breaking point” and the end is not yet in sight. I would, however, urge everyone to “keep up the good fight,” but also take a step back and realize that God truly is in charge. In the end, all will be well. Keep lifting up your petitions to the Lord, keep writing to your State and local government officials as well as to the Diocese, but don’t let this struggle get the best of you. Children sense anxiety, and that fear affects them greatly. We are a Resurrection people. We will triumph in the end.