Classes resumed at the University of Notre Dame after the conclusion of an extended Spring Break. My large lecture class, 230 students strong, called “The Catholic Faith,” resumed with the rest of our classes. I showed up to my usual classroom at the usual class time with my usual feeling of nervousness before teaching. I prepared the blackboard as usual, with the topic for the day, “The Descent into Hell, The Resurrection, and the Ascension of the Lord.” Our class is based on the Apostles’ Creed. We have reached the end of the second article. I put on the screen an image of the two classical icons of the Resurrection, the one of Christ descending into Hell and liberating Adam and Eve from the kingdom of the dead, and the one of the Spice-Bearing Women, come, as they thought, to anoint the body of the Lord. At the appointed moment, I started my lecture.
Editorial Note: This post was originally delivered as a reflection for Palm Sunday on Sunday, April 5, 2020.
“He emptied Himself,” Paul tells us in the second reading from Philippians (2:7). Who “emptied Himself?” “Christ Jesus,” Paul says, “though he was in the form of God.” The Creed explains what this means: in other words, “though He was in the form of God” because he was the “Son of God, God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father,”—“Christ Jesus” in the “form of God” is that one the Creed speaks of, truly God from all eternity in the permanent bliss and blessedness that belongs to God the Trinity as an eternal exchange of the most intimate love.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve received a number of requests from people looking for resources to assist them in different ways as they meet the challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak. In response, we’ve begun curating online resources in this weekly series, including links in each of the following categories: Prayer for the Home, Educational Opportunities, Resources (for ministers, educators, parents, etc.), and Flourishing and Fun.
Here are several that caught our attention for this week:
Editorial Note: This post is part of a series intended for Catholics who are unable to participate in public celebrations of the Eucharist because of restrictions around COVID-19. Through prayerful reflection on the proper texts of the Mass each Sunday, we may still receive the fruits of Eucharistic communion.
Under the pall of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lives of people around the globe have been radically upended in countless ways. The Church shares in this upheaval, as all dioceses of the United States have canceled public Masses and are wrestling with how best to continue dispensing the sacraments—especially Confession and Anointing of the Sick—while observing necessary health precautions. It’s clear that the celebrations of Holy Week will necessarily be very different in 2020, with the rituals unfolding in empty churches. (On the bright side, with stay-at-home orders, there should be record “attendance” at the Triduum via livestream!)