Message May 22, 2020

7th Sunday of Easter, 2020

Dear parishioners and friends of Saint Eugene Parish;

If you want a ‘real shocker, look at a calendar!  It’s hard to believe that Pentecost Sunday is about one week away and with Pentecost comes the end of the Easter Season!  So, let’s see, due to the Covid–19 virus, not only did we miss out on celebrating Holy Week and Easter Sunday, but now it’s becoming very clear that we’ll miss celebrating the end of the entire Easter Season, Pentecost Sunday!  DOES THIS MEAN THAT WE’VE BEEN ROBBED OF EASTER and all that goes with it!

How have you been ‘coping’ with this health crisis?  Let’s continue to thank God for the dedication and courage shown by those in health care, public safety, transportation, essential retail, teachers, and others considered ‘essential’, who continue to work, ‘on the job’ and from home, to protect us and provide for our needs.  I know it’s been extremely difficult for those who have found themselves working reduced hours or unemployed, especially if you have others depending you.  Prayerfully, let us hope that this crisis comes to a healthy and safe ending very soon.

Back to that idea that somehow Easter has been stolen from us. How do you feel about that?  The name ‘Theodore Geisel’ comes to my mind.  Anyone recognize it?  It’s a name that I’m sure just about all of us have heard, but unless you are a teacher of young children or perhaps a parent, Theodore Geisel probably doesn’t ring a bell.  Well, maybe you know him by another name, Dr. Seuss!  (How on earth did Dr. Seuss come to my mind recently?  I guess it’s amazing how each of us deals with stress in different ways!).  I’ll bet we’ve all heard of some of his books: ‘Green eggs and Ham or ‘The Cat in the Hat’, but my ‘favorite’ is ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’!  It’s a story about the ‘Grinch’, a nasty, lonely, grumpy creature who hates to see happy people and decides to put an end to Christmas by stealing all the objects related to Christmas from the nice people of Whoville on Christmas Eve therefore ruining their joyful celebration of Christmas.  But the Grinch’s plan fails …. even though the people of Whoville lack all the external things that usually make-up a Christmas celebration, on Christmas Day they remain happy and celebrate a Christmas like no other!

Now what, you may ask, does a Christmas story have to do with us at Easter?  Well, come on, use some imagination!  Change the name ‘Grinch’ to ‘Covid-19’, change the season from Christmas to Easter, change the location from ‘Whoville’ to ‘St. Eugene Parish’!  Now, think about it, is it really true that Covid-19 has stolen Easter from us?  After all, we had no Holy Week (no Holy Thursday or Good Friday), no reading of the Passion (2 times!), no Easter Vigil or Easter Sunday Mass, no family gatherings  …  but have we really been robbed of Easter?

Now in the end, the Grinch was unable to ‘steal Christmas’ from the good people of Whoville simply by stealing the externals that went with Christmas.  He hears the people joyfully proclaim:


OK, now let’s make a change, and what do you have:


            In the years ahead, when we think back on Easter 2020, and reflect upon how ‘different it was’, may we come to realize that in spite of it all, despite all we did not have, EASTER 2020 WAS AN AWESOME EASTER!  For Easter 2020 showed us, as a parish, that the truth of Easter is NOT in the externals; it’s in our hearts!  That for a person of faith, the truth of Easter is that because of the love that God has for each one of us, and through the workings of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, we can enjoy the promise of Eternal Life and nothing, not even a Grinch or a virus, can ever take that away from us!  I hope you enjoyed a blessed and holy Easter!


God Bless You,


Fr. McDermott