In 2021, I wrote an essay on the possibilities for strategic change in various aspects of Catholic ministries in the U.S. based on learnings from innovative ministries provided during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his book “Let Us Dream,” Pope Francis reminds us that what allows us to experience the newness which faith can bring is to be present to people in their lives and to respond to their needs in the same way Christ has responded – in abundant care and love, just as he shared in the love poured out from the Father.
Especially over the past year, so many of us have experienced losses. God doesn’t take away the pain of our losses but helps us to see through it to the future that God has in mind for each one of us, and for all of us.
Like those Apostles and the early Christians, we are responding to new needs in new ways. Christ again tells us to not be afraid, even in the midst of the pains and difficulties of the present moment.
In today’s readings, God speaks to us through the prophet Isaiah and reminds us of how we come to this newness of spirit. It is a Lenten checklist of doing charity and justice – of caring for others.
The presence of the Blessed Mother to Juan Diego echoes her presence in the Scripture readings for today, which remind us of Mary’s role as “first disciple,” always bringing to the Church the Good News of her Son.