Day 9

Today is the Fifth Sunday of Lent I wrote this reflection for our Church website and am sharing it here. Enjoy.

Lord, If You Had Been Here

We can very much identify with the anguish Martha and Mary are experiencing in today’s Gospel. Martha confronts Jesus in a way with questions we might want to ask of him ourselves in our current situation. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

These might seem harsh or even disrespectful from our perspective, but we have to remember the relationship between Jesus, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus was very human. There was a warm friendship between Jesus and these three siblings that shines through all these centuries later. Martha can ask this of her friend Jesus because they have gotten to know him in His humanity.  

In one way, this is what lent is about. We encounter Jesus in his humanity. In the words of St Leo the Great, “To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature that is incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer.” Jesus indeed joined in the suffering and grief with the others who loved Lazarus. But presence is much more profound than mere commiseration.

His response to Martha is one we are familiar with but worth reflecting on, particularly in a time of hardship and suffering, such as we are enduring today on a global scale. “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”

Jesu speaks in the present tense because salvation is not something that we are waiting for in the future but is rather ongoing today, this moment and the question for us to reflect on this Fifth Sunday of Lent is, “Do I believe this?”

Our prayer is that each of us can respond as Martha did, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

Day 7 & 8

Day 7

Today we received the last regular paycheck we are likely to receive for a while. It is going to be a bumpy ride financially from here on out. Rent is due on Wednesday, but I have yet to hear from them on the method of payment. We can probably make most of all our payment this month but next month is seriously in doubt. Something will have to be worked out. 

Congress is supposed to approve a badly needed stimulus bill for the President to sign, but one grandstanding Republican is trying to make a name for himself by being the lone voice holding it up to force a quorum. That means legislators from both sides have to gather in one place unnecessarily to please the ego of one person to absolutely no purpose. 

Day 8

Combining entries because yesterday kind of got away from me, and I wound up not posting anything. The Tea Party Doofus, who will now be remembered only for being a grandstanding jerk at a time when the nation is in crisis, was easily swatted side, and the stimulus bill finally passed. The President signed it yesterday afternoon. 

Today we didn’t even eat breakfast until 10:00. That never happens unless we go out on a Sunday and have to wait until after Mass. Our nights are getting gradually longer. The later we stay up then the later we get up. We are going to have to work on keeping a better schedule or I will not be able to get back on a work schedule when the tie comes. Right now, it is like we are living in a different time zone, and I don’t want to get too comfortable with that.

The choice we made to stay off the news sites is turning out to be the right decision. A recap in the morning and a recap in the afternoon keeps us up to date, but the rest of the day, we watch or do anything else we can to dwell on this thing as little as possible.

Ahead of coronavirus stimulus vote, House lawmakers concerned Rep. Massie may trigger delay | Fox News

Hard to believe.

Furious lawmakers voiced serious concerns on Capitol Hill late Thursday that a Republican House member could “go rogue” and possibly scuttle a vote on the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, and potentially endanger other House members in the process, Fox News has learned. Fox News is told there is deep worry on both sides of the aisle that Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., could try to sidetrack House plans to quickly approve the coronavirus bill via a “voice vote” — a verbal exercise in which those in favor shout yea, and those opposed holler nay. The loudest side would prevail. “It’s the Thomas Massie show,” said one senior Republican source who asked to not be identified.

Ahead of coronavirus stimulus vote, House lawmakers concerned Rep. Massie may trigger delay | Fox News

Day 5

Late evening on the fifth day. I got to spend two hours on Skype with my grandson today. Then a girl he knows called, and suddenly I wasn’t so exciting. I made a trip to the local market and Dunkin Donuts. I can’t get used to how empty the streets are at 11:00 in the morning. I am astonished at the level of cooperation in people staying indoors as much as possible and away from each other, at least in my neighborhood. But I can’t help but wonder how long it will last, especially as our leaders in government insist on conducting partisan grandstanding as if nothing unusual was affecting their constituents. 

I am thinking about taking the car out soon. It hasn’t been started since Saturday, and I want to make sure it is functioning correctly when I do need it. I don’t think I am likely to catch a virus driving around in my car alone with the windows up. There is also the looming possibility that this shelter in place order could become an enforced quarantine. That is something I am not looking forward to. Tomorrow I start working in earnest on my novel, and I may start posting some more short stories on a writer’s site I belong to. 

Coronavirus bill hits hurdles as Sanders threatens to stall package over bid to change unemployment aid | Fox News

It’s interesting that all the people holding up this package on both sides are all wealthy career politicians. These guys and gals are a joke. And that joke is on us.

Bernie Sanders said Wednesday afternoon he might torpedo the Senate’s compromise stimulus package unless Republican senators dropped their objections about what they called a “massive drafting error” related to unemployment benefits, in the latest twist to a process that has been marked by delays and last-minute hurdles. “In my view, it would be an outrage to prevent working-class Americans to receive the emergency unemployment assistance included in this legislation,” Sanders said in a statement, also posted on social media. “Unless these Republican Senators drop their objections, I am prepared to put a hold on this bill until stronger conditions are imposed on the $500 billion corporate welfare fund to make sure that any corporation receiving financial assistance under this legislation does not lay off workers, cut wages or benefits, ship jobs overseas, or pay workers poverty wages,” he continued. An objection by a single senator would prevent the Senate from quickly passing the bill by unanimous consent, although it remained possible that the chamber could pass the legislation by voice vote or roll-call vote. Fox News is told lawmakers are leaning toward approving the bill via voice vote, in which senators in the chamber shout “aye” or “nay,” with the loudest side winning. Then, late Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said unanimous consent was a nonstarter in the House, and implied that quick passage in the lower chamber may be unrealistic. Pelosi has called for members to have at least 24 hours to review the bill text once it’s available. “That’s not gonna work,” she told reporters shortly after 7:30 p.m. ET, referring to unanimous consent. “Republicans have told us that’s not possible from their said. … What I’d like to see — because this a $2 trillion bill — I’d like to see a good debate on the floor.”

Coronavirus bill hits hurdles as Sanders threatens to stall package over bid to change unemployment aid | Fox News