​”THE HUMAN RACE MAY BE COMPAREDTO SPIKES OF WHEAT IN A FIELD, RISING, AS IT WERE, FROM THE EARTH, AWAITINGTHEIR FULL GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT, AND THEN IN TIME BEING CUT DOWN BY THEREAPER, WHICH IS DEATH.” (A LentSourcebook: The Forty Days, Book Two, p. 118).
These are very different times. Noone could have foreseen what effect COVID-19 would have on all of us. It isunprecedented that our churches, synagogues, mosques,  schools,restaurants and all other places of business would be affected as drasticallyas they have been recently. In his presentation last Saturday, Gov. Murphy, ina response to an interviewer’s question said, “we are at war.” Pleasebe safe and make sure your family and neighbors are safe as well.
Today’s reading from Ezekiel is abouta valley filled with dry bones that only God can restore to  life. It is very well connected to the Gospel, which is the story of Jesus raisingLazarus from the dead. Jesus is the one who  offered Lazarus new life andan opportunity to live again with his family. It is Jesus who offers us thesame opportunity of new life, as we celebrate his death and resurrection in theWord, in Baptism and in the Eucharist.
Some of us may wonder, though, whatthis all means at a difficult  time like this. There has to be a reason tohope, and to continue to live our lives, and Jesus offers us the opportunity toaccomplish this. Yes, we have to take precautions to be safe, but if we livewithout hope, then we die. His death and resurrection gave us all a reason tolive, but also to celebrate this experience in the way that we relate to oneanother. We are the sign of Christ for others, and if we cannot offer eachother something different that will sustain us, fill us with hope and challengeus to live as transformed, then we are no better than those who promote doomand gloom.
This time of Lent is meant to help usimprove our relationship with God and our relationships with each other. Indifficult times, we respond to one another’s needs. Our greatest need is toreassure one another that Jesus is present with us, and that becomes evident inthe way we respond to the needs of one another. The church has withstood allsorts of difficulties throughout its history, and as the Church in Springfield,we will continue to do that. We need to pray for each other, for our town, ourstate, our nation and the world that we will overcome these difficulties withthe help of God.
Please be safe and especially followthe directives of the  Governor, Mayor and Township Officials who arelooking out for all of us. Our Holy Week services will be live-streamed; youwill receive an email with a schedule and how to access them on Facebook and Youtube. A schedule is also posted on the doorsof the church, which, as directed by Cardinal Tobin, must remain locked at thistime.
HAPPYLENT!!
FR. JOE​”

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