In the Darkness…Pandemic 2020

April 13th, 2020 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

In the book of prayers and readings a priest reads each day, i sometimes run across a phrase or sentence that catches my attention. I lately came upon these words from the Book of Exodus: [on Mount Sinai] Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.

But what struck me were the words “where God was.” Moses stepped into the thick darkness, encountered God there and was given the Law that would define define Israel’s identity and destiny.

We can certainly resonate with the notion of “thick darkness” for it describes our days living through the present pandemic with all its suffering, fear, uncertainty and mourning of the dead.

Though few of us, whether individuals or families, cities or nations, look forward to being in darkness. But if we trust that God can meet us in our darkness, then we can, perhaps, find the darkness becoming less dark, and we may even emerge with a clearer sense of who we are and what we need to do and to be in the future.

So, may our future days be brighter, and may we continue to look for God in all our days with faith, hope, courage and love for one another. We may have to look hard, but God is there for us as he was for Moses.

Hidden Blessings

March 28th, 2020 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

When we look back over these last few days, weeks and months many of us can’t help wondering, “Where did this virus and pandemic come from?” and “What does it mean?”  The first question may not have a clear answer, but we want to know how it got here because such knowledge may help us understand it now and give us a handle on what signs we need to look for in order to prevent a recurrence. The answer will surely come from the disciplines of science, medicine and demographics.

But the question of what it means for us is not so easily answered, and certainly not by science, because each individual will respond based on his or her experiences. Some people may experience the virus and pandemic as God’s punishment for sin, while others may feel it is a “ test.”

I prefer to think the virus and pandemic are opportunities, and as such, have something positive to give and teach us. For instance, the social distancing that has come with the virus has made me see how important my friendships are, especially those which span many years but which I sometimes take for granted. The virus has motivated me to learn skills like FaceTime and WhatsApp, which let me not just think about people but actually see them and talk with them. I would probably never had done so without the virus.

A second gift that the experience of the virus has given me  is that I am more aware of people I haven’t really noticed or paid attention to before. Previously I would be aware of them but not really see them. Now  when I go into a grocery store or pharmacy I’m more likely to  see the employees  as individuals, each one facing the same kind of challenges that I do, and I realize that we do all share a kinship, whether spoken or unspoken. And what we are experiencing right now has been the experience of many people in other countries throughout the world. We are truly all in this together. 

Lastly, the virus gives me the reminder that I need to put into God’s hands myself, the ones I love and people I don’t even know. Then I find it easier to take seriously Christ’s command to depend on God and not be afraid. We may not be able to attend church right now, but at every moment God works in the way we need, and will be walking with us and, when necessary, carrying us —- all of us —- in his arms.

So, are these difficult and challenging times? Absolutely! But God is still able to meet us and bless us, even there. 

Frank Majka, S.J. 

God’s Christmas Joy

December 29th, 2019 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Christmas is a time of great joy. Joy runs through the whole season. Mary joyfully sings God’s praise when she visits Elizabeth, angels bring the shepherds “news of great joy which will be to all the people” and one of our Christmas carols begins, “Joy to the world. The Lord has come!”

But doesn’t it seem strange that we seldom talk about God’s joy? Yet if God so loved us as to send us the Second Person of the Trinity in order to share his divinity with us and save us, it seems only right to believe that the Three-Person God is filled with great joy and deep satisfaction as they see their desire and plan for us and our world begin to unfold in time. So, if heaven and earth and shepherds and angels rejoice, wouldn’t God?

Perhaps we feel that such language makes God too much like us. But we believe that God made us in his own image. So it seems clear that we are not mistaken if we think that our own Christmas joy comes from and shares in the deep joy that fills the heart of God.


December 25th, 2019 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

At the Christmas season, the old saying that All Roads Lead to Rome must, for believers, change to All Roads Lead to Bethlehem. For, though Rome displayed the power and authority of an empire, Bethlehem reveals the deeper majesty and power of God’s love in being born as a baby.

Because God chose to come in such a manner, God makes himself available not just to the powerful of the world, but to simple shepherds. It is they who are not just told about the coming of Jesus but are invited to see it for themselves and bring the news to others.

Bethlehem reveals God’s deep desire, born out of love for us, to be one of us. It also reveals to us that God wishes to share his own life with us by being human.

So this season you might want to take some time to visit a crib scene in your local church or in your home And ask yourself what you are really seeing and what Bethlehem this year is teaching you.

More than “Welcome”

December 14th, 2019 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

“Mi casa es su casa!” I think these five words (“My house is your house!”) express a welcome more generous and warm than the simple word “Welcome!” ever could.

I like to think that the time of Advent is a time for us to choose what words we might use to greet the Son of God, whose coming we celebrate at Christmas. Does his arrival elicit from us more than a simple “welcome”? Doesn’t it instead call from us words and feelings of a more heartfelt and generous kind? Doesn’t the coming of Jesus deserve that we welcome him into the very heart of the world where we live (our “casa”)?

And how will we know if we are offering him an appropriate welcome? The answer is simple, for Jesus told us that he will regard our welcome and treatment of others as being done to him. The sharing of our home, our casa, with them is the way we welcome him. And if we are generous and welcoming to them, Jesus will be similarly be generous and welcoming to us. And his casa will become ours.

Frank Majka, S.J.