By Robert Rios, News Editor
I have been good friends with someone for five years. We’d crossed paths before, but we never really talked. But when I finally chose to get to know him, I learned he was pretty cool. He liked helping and caring for people, whatever their issue might be. And I was inspired by his positive attitude, that someday the world would come together and there’d be no more turmoil.
We’ve had a steady schedule, meeting up once a week, and celebrating his life. It helps me realize that he’s got my back and I’ve got his.
But in our current situation, that face-to-face bond has been broken, and it’s a little weird trying to communicate with him. He’s such an inspiration to me that without that contact, it’s made me unmotivated to do my work or get up in the morning. We get to video chat every Sunday, but it’s not the same.
I miss my friend Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
I was used to seeing Jesus at my parish and listening to the words of God once a week. But as of March 13, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles announced it was lifting from its parishioners the obligation of attending Sunday Mass for the foreseeable future. This, to me, is a blow to the Catholic community because it negates our weekly ritual of community celebration.
For example, every Easter, my family and I usually go to a long mass on Saturday and wake up Sunday morning to celebrate the return of Jesus, but this year we watched a church stream and then had a special dinner at my house. It was not much, but it was the only thing we could do.
My grandparents have missed going to church early in the morning and coming home to relax. My 76-year-old grandma is very invested in the religion, so it hurts her that she is not allowed to go to our church, let alone go outside anywhere.
My own dilemma with not going to a mass in person is that watching it on a Youtube live stream makes me lose concentration with what the priest is talking about. This hurts me more because I have never been the best Catholic, but I’ve persisted all these years, attempting to get closer to the Holy Trinity. I guess in some way my commitment to see Jesus once a week has helped me grow as a person, but I don’t feel like I’ve fulfilled God’s plan for me in my life.
But I still believe in God and that there is a goodness in the world. On Easter Sunday I watched the live stream and the father in the mass was talking about how the coronavirus is affecting millions but how we as a community will be OK. I believe him, but in the back on my mind it just seems all sad. I am trying to rely on my faith to keep my spirits up, but it’s difficult. I know God means well and he will protect us in the end, yet I still can’t shake this timid spirit because when I look out my windows of my room all I see are gloomy skies and empty streets.
But even though I’m stuck at home, and it’s harder to feel as close to my friend Jesus, I know he is still by my side, that my relationship to him will never be disconnected, and he will help all of us get through these challenging times.
Even though this pandemic is keeping me from visiting him in his house, I know that he has another home inside me, and can visit anytime I let him in.