A word of encouragement.
Lazarus, get out of the grave.
Friends, life will always be a sacred, precious gift from God. We understand this more clearly now when our lives are threatened by a silent virus that indiscriminately attacks and weakens the body and soul of those who contract it. A virus that is indiscriminate, attack all races and colors, all ages young and old. I sincerely offer my prayers for quick recovery of all those facing the threat of this illness, and their families. Victims of this deadly virus have symptoms such as fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing, which are undoubtedly difficult physical and spiritual burdens for a human being to bear. These are heavy burdens that we could even compare with the heavy stone that for several days lay across the grave of the dead Lazarus.
The good news is; Jesus not only gives us life, but also removes from us those heavy stones that conceal our true selves, as we see in Martha, and the heavy stones that wrap us in death, as we see in Lazarus. It is our duty to trust fully in God and listen to His voice which invites us to come out of darkness, fear, anxiety and doubtful graves. Yes, there is a threat to human life but the Lord is with us, he will not abandon us, “… and lo, I am with you always … Matt 28:20.”
As we enter into the week of our Lenten preparation for Holy Week and Easter, let us try to discover our own heavy stones loaded with worries, fears, and anxieties. Heavy stones that, like the COVID 19 virus, prevent us from taking a deep breath of life, and refrain us from hearing the voice of the Lord, calling us out of our physical and spiritual graves. Jesus cries and suffers with us during this hard time. He expresses his suffering for us without shame. It is precisely that pain which He experiences and endures patiently, which becomes the fountain through which the God of the universe uses in order to heal our wounds, lighten our burdens and give us life.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray that we are able to find God in the midst of pain and suffering that has been brought about by the coronavirus. Let us gather in our houses and open our inner ears to Christ’s loving voice. As he called Lazarus out of grave, Christ is calling us of fear and anxiety, ready to untie us so that we may live a life of hope, hope for eternal glory.
Lastly, I kindly plead with those who are able to help our parish in this difficult time. The life of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish continues. Our accounts have gone down drastically these last three weeks, yet our monthly expenses continue: for our plant, our ministries, and our staff. We are now running over $24,000 below our budgeted needs. For those of us who are able, please continue to give online (https://www.givecentral.org/location/136) or mail your envelopes and donations to the Parish office at 5472 S. Kimbark Ave, Chicago, IL 60615. We need your help to keep the vital ministries and services we provide going. Many people in our parish and community depend upon your regular, weekly offertory contributions, and during this current challenge, it is needed more than ever. Thank you.
I continue to remember each of you, our parishioners and school families, in my daily morning Mass. Thank you for all your support and prayers. Without you I am nothing. Christ needs us all.
Fr Chris Kituli.