Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops led the nation in a moment of prayer on Good Friday for an end of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Praying the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus together offered a special moment of unity for the faithful during a time when communities throughout the U.S. and worldwide are physically unable to congregate for Holy Week and Easter because of COVID-19.
Prepared text of Archbishop Gomez’s homily:
My dear brothers and sisters,
We stand today at the foot of the cross with Mary, our Blessed Mother, and we look upon her Son, crucified. And we ask God: Why did he have to die? Couldn’t there be some other way?
Today we are also asking God: Why this coronavirus? Why have you allowed this disease and death to descend on our world?
We know that Jesus on the cross is the only answer. In the heart of Christ — wounded by the soldier’s spear, pierced by our sins — we see how much God loves the world. We see how precious we are in our Father’s eyes.
As we just heard in our Gospel reading: Out of his heart flowed blood and water — blood that redeems us from sin and death; water that washes away our shame and makes all things new.
Brothers and sisters, as we stand today at the foot of his cross, in the midst of this pandemic, Jesus is calling us to trust in his Sacred Heart.
Let’s pray often to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Jesus, I trust in you! ¡Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, en ti confío!
God will provide! We know that. He has a plan of a plan of love for his creation, a plan of goodness and mercy for every nation and for every heart.
Jesus does not die for no reason. Good Friday is “good” because it opens the way to Easter Sunday.
God gave his own Son for us. So, we know that he will deliver us from this evil of the coronavirus. The cross shows us that his love for us is stronger than death.
Brothers and sisters, we are living in the moment of Christian witness.
Jesus has opened his heart for us. He has given his life out of love for us. Now he calls us to entrust our lives to him — our whole heart, our whole mind; all our feelings and thoughts, our words and actions.
In this moment, Jesus is inviting every one of us in the Church to take up our cross and to follow him along the path of humble love, the path of reverence for God and service to our neighbors.
God’s mercies are not spent! Faith, hope, and charity have not died!
We are witnessing this in a beautiful way every day during this pandemic — in our hospitals and homes, in our parishes and ministries, in every quiet, unseen act of self-sacrifice and service in our families and communities.
This is what God wants us to learn in this time of worldwide crisis — that we are one family, one Body united in the blood and water that flows from the heart of Christ, joined together in a beautiful, supernatural solidarity of compassion.
Let us love one another, joining our sufferings to the heart of Christ, open for us on the cross. Let us sacrifice for one another, take care of one another, forgive one another.
Jesus, I trust in you! ¡Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, en ti confío!
May our Blessed Mother Mary intercede for us in her sorrows today.
May she help us to be meek and humble of heart, and to persevere in this Good Friday of disease and death, to hasten to the Easter morning of the resurrection.