You can watch the July 17th
School of Leaders
on YouTube at this link.
Some of you may recall that from December
2012 to December 2014, I underwent a series of medical issues that threatened
to take me. I was homebound for much of that time with nursing care from my
wife and visiting nurses. I spent weeks in the hospital. Many of you prayed for
me and helped lift my burden. During those difficult times, I turned to God and
had some of my closest moments to Christ. I knew I was not alone. My greatest
concern was for my wife who had to take care of me and who worried about me. She
needed our prayers as well.
For most of that time I was unable to attend
Mass. As a daily communicant I missed being there and receiving the Eucharist.
I watched on TV but it isn’t the same. For the past three months we all
experienced the loss of Mass and communion. Somehow, it was worse for me this
time than when I was sick. I know Christ is still present in our lives, but I
longed so much to return to Mass and communion.
Our entire society has also changed during
this pandemic. Uncertainty surrounds us. There are protests, violence, anxiety
and fear. Some people are still out of work; some are still confined to their
homes for fear of contracting the virus.
We would all agree we are living in very
trying times. Uncertainty is all around us. We wear masks, and avoid crowds. We
have changed many of our habits. Even here in Church, we are distanced from
each other, and are warned to avoid congregating after Mass. It is as though we
are living in a different world and we wonder if things will ever get back to
what we called NORMAL.
Only one thing remains constant. Jesus is
with us, guiding and protecting us. In the Gospel today He offers to help us
carry our burdens and troubles. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” When
I think of a yoke, I remember the yoke borne by oxen and mules, heavy wooden
objects placed on their shoulders. I shrink from taking something like that
upon myself. But it is Christ’s yoke, and He promises to help bear OUR burdens.
His yoke is easy, and He helps us carry our burdens. What a great deal He
As I was undergoing my surgeries and
recoveries, I knew that Christ was helping me to bear them. Your prayers and
the love and the care of my wife made Christ real and alive during that crisis.
Today, as I look around at the mess that the
world is in, I remember what I went through in my illness and I recall what
helped me get through it. I continue to trust in Christ and you can, too. God
is in control and we, Catholic Christians can turn to Him in prayer and
Last week, Vice–president
Pence said, “Even when things don’t seem like they’re going the way we
expected, they’re going the way [God] expected.” He continued, “If we will but
hold fast to Him, we’ll see our way through these challenging times, we will
restore our nation’s health, we will renew our freedom, and we will inspire
people across this land with our witness of the love and compassion and
strength that comes in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
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