24TH MARCH, 2020

Sisters and brothers in Christ

The Lord be with you!

Blessed Feast day of St. Oscar Arnulfo Romero! The feast prior to the vigil and the great Solemnity of The Annunciation. In the midst of all this spiritual beauty and power, we must be grateful to our God who is Life and Love. As I would always say, ‘We live and move and have our being because of a God who loves us and who has shown us how to live. How grateful are you to him? How grateful are we to him? Yet, we can easily be tempted to believe that we live and move because of our own human power and this life we live is our very own. How can we followers of Christ lose sight of our true purpose on this earth? In good times and challenging times, we are for God and not for ourselves or the world.

Listen to a quote from St. Oscar Arnulfo Romero: “Aspire not to have more, but to be more.” In a generation that is all about what I have, what we have, who wants to be more in order for us to have a society, a church that truly cares for the other member? Who wants to be a more faithful Catholic Christian? Who wants to be a more loving and just person? Who wants to be a more patient person? Echoing the words of this great saint, I say to you, “Aspire not to have more, but to be more…”

Yesterday, Tuesday 23rd March, 2020, the announcement was made of the first case of the Coronavirus, COVID-19 in Belize. Immediately the level of fear and anxiety was raised in my people, Belizeans. Just imagine that an unseen virus can cripple our world, our country and have people living a life of fear instead of a life of faith. Just imagine too that many people here and in our world, pay no kind of attention to a God that is unseen and who is more potent than COVID-19! With the many intelligent people in Belize and the world, a virus wins the prize! This is telling us (if we can relieve ourselves of our pride) that apart from the Lord God, the human beings are powerless and are nothing. He is the Vine,and we are the branches!

I noticed that many of you have found strength in the Word of God; you have found strength in the lessons and stories of Old Testament people; you have found strength in family prayer sessions. Strength is what is necessary today as we huddle together under the mantle (cloak) of our Blessed Mother. We will need the physical strength to fight this disease, and the spiritual strength to know that whatever happens during this time of trial, our God will never abandon us.

During this time that I have asked that Masses be cancelled in all our Churches, I want to urge all priests to celebrate Mass daily individually or as a religious community. I very much appreciate the creative ways you have made to reach out and to feed your people with spiritual food and strength. Keep up the good work, good and faithful servant! To the faithful, I urge you to spend much more time in prayer for various intentions, and especially for the end of this pandemic in our world. I urge us all to reflect deeply on how much more we can be for our country, our community and our church.

As we continue to celebrate the Season of Lent, I want us to stay focus on the spirit of this season and what we are called to do. Live the traditions that are so appropriate for this season; keep in touch with your parish’s program of scheduled events and activities.

He tells us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled!” These words are not easy to put into practice, but we can do it. With this, I ask for your prayers for myself and for our shepherds throughout the world who are very concerned that we all stay united as a Church, as a people, not in fear, but in full trust in our God. Our God reigns! He conquers all!

Amen! Itara Lan!