Last weekend my husband and I had the chance to go to our church for the first time since the beginning of March. No, our parish didn't shut down quite then but we got the flu the second week of March and by the time we were over it, the world seemed to have turned upside down. What a shock and surprise; not only were all Masses canceled and suddenly we had to watch it on TV, but when we went to order food and household goods online, in a matter of those few days, most of what we needed to order was "out of stock". And, you guessed it, I unknowingly checked for toilet paper too and it was no where to be found. Who would have known that people would go bezerk in a matter of days and hoard all major necessities.
So with the flu, we canceled our overseas trip scheduled to depart the next day. We found out we basically had to make due with the bare essentials that were left in our house after having emptied our fridge before we were supposed to leave. Also, my Mom and her friend did go on that pilgrimage, so as soon as I felt well enough to pay attention to the news, I realized they were flying over the Atlantic ocean toward Europe literally on the night the President was announcing the upcoming closure of the US borders and encouraging all US citizens to return to the country. Yes, my Mom's whole group got stuck in Europe and just made it back to the US the day before all the borders were indefinitely closed. Their return trip was rescheduled and rerouted at least three times before they finally traveled back via Turkey and then direct to NY.
So, you guessed it, after picking up Mom at the airport in NY, we had to do a self-quarantine for two more weeks since we were in NYC. So 3 total weeks of being closed up in our house (or "safe at home" as someone wrote on Facebook) and we missed a chunk of the beauty of Spring except what we could see from our windows and from our backyard. Needless to say, we were, and are, very grateful for God's protection for all of us, for a safe return for Mom almost miraculously, for a clean bill of health (after the flu) for our family and those who went on the pilgrimage. We are grateful everyday for having all the necessities of life and for safety from danger (we are not in a war zone along with the corona virus scare, for example) and the list goes on with so many things to be thankful for. Also, we started and are still completing a 33 day Consecration to St. Joseph by Fr. Calloway, which is phenomenal and teaching us so much about the life and virtues of St. Joseph and how to trust more in God and live our faith better.So, back to the beginning of going to Confession last week at our parish church. My priest gave me the penance of meditating on that Sunday's Gospel, which was the story of "doubting Thomas." Jesus came into the locked room where the Apostles were, once without Thomas present and the second time with him present. Jesus didn't scold Thomas for his doubting but said for him to place his finger in His side and in the wounds of His hands and told him to believe. And Thomas did believe with a special grace saying, "My Lord and my God!" And both times when Jesus entered he said, "Peace be with you."
As I read that familiar Gospel, it hit me differently this year. We've been "locked up" so to speak in our homes, 'locked in" and paralyzed by so many fears and uncertainties. We've locked up our hearts from distrust, from past wounds... You can add all of the things that are affecting you right now and you know what I'm talking about.
Our hearts can be locked up to protect ourselves but Jesus came through the locked doors and He said, "Peace be with you." He brings peace now also to our hearts and to our lives. It reminds me of the passage that it was not us who loved God first, be He first loved us. Jesus overcomes all obstacles, even locked doors, to be with us and to bring us His peace.
Peace be with you! :)