Please, note that your pastor is now equipped with the coveted N95 mask. A highly trained and experienced medical professional has outfitted me like a pro. According to instructions outlined by Bishop Burbidge there is a way for me to minister the sacraments without fear of multiplying contagion. I feel up to the task, yet Prince William Hospital doesn’t share my enthusiasm. I don’t know of the other healthcare facilities. With this in mind, please, feel free to call upon my services to minister the Anointing of the Sick, Confession, Holy Communion and an Apostolic Pardon. Yet, keep in mind, it will only be possible for me to minister to you before you go to Prince William Hospital and possibly other facilities.
After all my middle name is Damian, as in St. Damien of Molokai. I can’t turn away from this challenge less I’d deny who I am. St. Damien never wanted to get leprosy, yet he knew it was a distinct possibility. Before I left for my stint in our diocesan missions, of which you have often heard me speak, my father handed my holy card of St. Christopher that he had recently found in a letter that my great grandmother had sent her son, his father, as he went off to World War I. The message was not lost on me. The man who named me Christopher Damian was handing me a relic from the woman who initiated the tradition in our family of the males being given the middle name Damian. For you see, Fr. Damien was engaged in his heroic work in her lifetime. I was experiencing the power of the Communion of Saints. In her life, Great-grandmother Murphy was renowned for her piety. She was seemingly teaming up with her favorite holy heroes to send me on my way.
In my time away, I never felt alone. I was reassured by the fact that I would be back home some day. The Diocese of Arlington is my home and I am ordained to serve here, so the bishop was obliged to bring me back. Nevertheless, if should be called heavenward then I would be truly home with those who had been rooting for me. This perspective, of always knowing that I was going home, kept me going. Each and every one of us who are baptized can call upon the power of our heavenly home.
In light of the Easter Resurrection and the eternal life that it shares with us, consider the perspective of our heavenly family. Those of us who are the beneficiaries of today’s miracle, today’s feast, will look back on our time on earth and say, what was I thinking? How could I have been so shortsighted? What was a mere ninety years? Why did I let the discomforts of that time bother me so? Why couldn’t I see them for what they were: my trials, my cross, the great test to make me a saint?
How could I have wasted time on earth being so anxious about the style of my shelter, the fashion of my apparel, the different flavors to give my mouth? How could I have spent so much time following the lives of the famous, of getting upset at politicians and given so little attention to those in my family, neighborhood and surroundings that could have been relieved by my attention, by my resources, by these talents that God gave me? Why was I so concerned about what God gave my neighbor? When after all, He had a specific plan and duty for me?
Please, be assured of my continued prayers with the power of Christ’s Resurrection. As I’ve said before, God was the first one to adopt the motto, ‘Never let a crisis go to waste.’
P.S. This Sunday will be like last Sunday. Confessions this week can be found Wednesday 6:30-7:30pm, Friday morning after Mass, and Saturday 3:45-4:45pm.