On February 26th we came to the church to have Ashes put on our foreheads as we began our Lenten journey in the desert, expecting to make some sacrifices, and arrive at Easter on April 12th. We certainly didn’t anticipate that our time ‘in the desert’ would be indefinitely prolonged. Yet on the 5th day of the “stay at home” order we find ourselves in exile, alone and afraid. These are scary times and we want things to return to normal as soon as possible. But, as we witness the suffering around the world and in our own country, we have an uneasy feeling that the world will never be the same. This is a great wake-up call for humanity. The little red ball of the coronavirus is bringing us together as a global community in ways that we couldn’t have imagined. In our self-centered, take-care-of-yourself society, we are being called to pay attention to one another new ways. We are called to lay down our own preferences and interests and seek to do what is best for the common good. We hear newscasters and government officials using the phrase: “We’re in this together.” Literally. David Brooks recently wrote on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times, “The great paradox, of course, is that we had to be set apart in order to feel together.” This is an opportunity for us to grow spiritually, to deepen our faith. Yet, we are challenged because all of our usual ways of coming together to pray are not available to us. What can we do? Thanks to technology, there are many opportunities to pray the Mass, the Stations of the Cross, the Rosary, daily reflections from our Pastor, meditations. But we also need times when we disconnect from all our devices and are present to each other. We need to set aside private times for silence and prayer as a family, joining with others in putting our trust in God, choosing faith over fear. Jesus is in the boat with us, but He wants to hear our call for help. God of Hope, we place our trust in you. Jesus, grant us strength to carry this cross. Come, Holy Spirit, give us courage for this hour.