These days have been strange for all of us. The 401 has little traffic during rush hour. Our sidewalks are almost empty. Many stores are closed or appear empty, except those selling groceries, which are packed. Kids not allowed to go to school. Parents not allowed to go to work. The elderly staying in their homes. Church closed and people not able to receive the Body of Christ. Strange days indeed! Within the cessation of so much activity, I have been surprised by the amount of distraction I feel in my soul. I watch news updates and press conferences from government leaders. I check the number of reported cases from the City of Toronto’s website several times a day. When I pray or try to think about God, I find my mind races to the newest piece of information from the health crisis. I think that my distraction is due to a common mistake. As usual, in my fear I have forgotten that God is with me and is with us. King David writes in the Psalm for this week: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.” More than ever, such words are “music to my ears,” it is the remedy to my fearful and distracted heart.

Looking at the image of Divine Mercy, we are invited to testify that we trust in the Lord. Our trust in Christ is not a blind trust. Rather our growing trust is a result from what he reveals to us of God’s face. This Sunday the Lord comes across a man who was blind from birth. The man had been told that his blindness was because he had been “born entirely in sins.” The man also knew that no one who had been born blind had ever later received their sight. And so he appears not to have had hope. When Jesus came near to him, the man did not ask the Lord to heal him, to give him sight. Rather the Lord said, “he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.” When Christ gave the man his sight, the miracle reveals two things. On the one hand, it shows the power of God, a sign to the people that Jesus was the Messiah. On the hand, it shows the reality of God’s face to us. Through his act of power, the Lord reveals to us his compassion and mercy. He shows to us that we are not mere afterthoughts for God – “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.” It is hard for our minds and hearts to comprehend. We are not mere afterthoughts for God, rather for God we are everything. And so Jesus healed the man born blind on the Sabbath.

During these strange days we face many distractions caused by our fear. There are so many things that are unknown to us. As a consequence, I look to control things that can’t be controlled. In my futile effort, the fear then increases. I realize that I must allow God to bring his light to every part of my life. As Paul writes, “for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it is said, ‘Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Our trust in the Lord is not blind trust. Christ shows us the face of the Father. And it is a face of love, mercy and compassion. This has consequences for us. These days we do not walk alone, trying to control that which can’t be controlled. But remember – “for you are with me . . . and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.”

Take Care and God Bless,

Fr John