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Fr. Dale's Reflections #14

How will we remember 2020? The truth is, it has not been a good year. As soon as I think about what has happened this year, I begin to shake my head. It has been a WOW! Year. And, not a good WOW! For me personally, I think about: (1) the death of my good friend Fr. Jack; (2) first Mother's Day without my mom; (3) coronavirus pandemic; (4) the economic collapse; (5) the incredibly high unemployment; (6) the looting of Scottsdale Fashion Square; (7) death of George Floyd; (8) protesters in the street; (9) the police SWAT team outside my door arresting my neighbor, and (10) churches were closed down for almost three months. And, it is only mid­June.
As a man of faith, I cannot simply say the world has gone wild. It is too easy to say some evil force has taken over the universe. I have to say, in the midst of it all, God is present. He has not caused all the bad events. But, He has not abandoned us. Paul said, in the letter to the Romans (8:28), "We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose." So that begs the question, how can all of this work for good?
Let's see if I can list the ways good can come out of 2020: (1) we learn to be more dependent on God; (2) prayer becomes a more essential part of our lives; (3) change begins to happen in our nation in regards to racial equality; (4) we learned how to live stream our church services; (5) people realize how much they value community because it has been taken away from them, and (6) we start to rearrange our priorities to focus on family and each other.
If I stand back and look at things a little differently, maybe I could say that 2020 has been a hard year but not necessarily a bad year. Maybe God in His mercy does know how to turn death and destruction into life and hope. Maybe all the bad stuff happens with some type of purpose. I do believe this is true. When I look back at the darkest times in my life, I have found that God always brought some type of redemption forward. Why would I think 2020 is any different?
2020 has gone amazingly slow....and fast. It's half over. And part of the reason it seems slow at times is that I dread so much of what is happening. I need to turn my dread into trust. I need to re-affirm my faith in a deeper way and trust God -- not just in the good times but in the painful times as well.
Coronavirus is bad. It has destroyed many lives. Riots are awful. They have destroyed peoples' property. The death of a loved one is painful. We do not stop missing them. But over all of this is the resurrection of Jesus Christ who continues to call life out of death. Let us put our trust in Him and hope the rest of 2020 gets a little easier.

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