walking through tunnel towards light

Fifth Sunday of Lent-2020

Written on: March 25, 2020

FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT- March 28, 2020

First Reading: Ezekiel 37:12-14
Second Reading: Romans 8:8-11
Gospel: John 11:1-45

His sisters loved him—“Lord if you had been here …” 

I don’t often say that as I generally feel God is with me—whether in a beautiful sunset or a child’s smile or the gracias of a food pantry recipient—or just the nod of a friend who knows I will be there for her.

But, a few years back the words of these two sisters echoed loudly in my ears and heart.

Early on Sunday morning I received a telephone call from the daughter of one of my ever faithful volunteers at Marguerite’s Pantry asking that I contact a priest to baptize her infant brother who had been rushed to Elmhurst Hospital.  As we talked, Dayana cried: “My mother said to call you so you can get a priest to come. Damian is dead.” My heart sank and my voice left me, as just three weeks earlier I had held baby Damian in my arms when his mother brought him to meet me and the others at the Pantry.

I called my St. Joan of Arc contact, and my friend Annie, to go with me to the hospital. When I got there the room was filled with Dayana’s family and her mother Yolanda holding baby Damian rocking and talking to him as a mother does when her baby is sick. The staff seemed to understand and left us in the room together to pray, to cry and to listen to Yolanda talk in hushed Spanish whispers to her baby boy taken so soon from this loving family.

“And Jesus wept”

That moment, that day, that scene in the emergency room at Elmhurst Hospital, will forever be engraved on my heart. The bond that was shared at that time continues to this day as I look into the eyes of Yolanda and her daughter as they continue to come and serve at the pantry in order to get enough food for her loving family.

“If one walks during the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of the world.  But if he walks at night he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

“Lord where were you when this baby, this mother, needed you?” No answer?  Yet when we choose to walk in the light, Jesus guides us to continue to show the love experienced among those in that hospital room. God does not desert us in our time of sorrow, but holds us and carries us on through the love we experience from one another as we continue on this journey.

In these days of COVID- 19 striking our neighborhoods, our workplaces and even our churches, let us turn in faith to the loving heart of Jesus whose love and compassion reached out and healed his friend Lazarus, and implore him to look with compassion on our country, our world as we pray together for an end to this pandemic.


Submitted by Sr. Anne Marie Beirne, GNSH. Pictured here with baby Damien –May he rest in peace!

13 thoughts on “Fifth Sunday of Lent-2020

  1. John Lambis says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. We all need Jesus in our lives, more now than ever. God bless us all.

  2. Maria Christi Drysdale says:

    Thank you Anne Marie for sharing this beautiful and moving story about Dayana, Yolanda and Damian. I could feel the pain and anguish of Yolanda as she held the baby close to her.
    May God’s presence ever touch us in prayer as we pray for all those at this time of loss of love ones to the Covd-19.

  3. Michael McClure says:

    Thank you Sister Anne Marie for sharing this moving personal experience with us. Reminding us, especially now, that God is always with us.

  4. Donna McQuillen says:

    What a tremendous gift it is to be God’s instrument! To bring His love to those we encounter and to lesson their burden by His love through us is, and always should be, monumental in our lives.

  5. Sister Joan Elias says:

    Perfect reflection for the these desperate times. Your deep love, caring and compassion for others is so beautifully expressed here. It helps put things in perspective.

  6. Rita Margraff says:

    Thank you, Anne Marie. As you related the story, I could feel the presence of God very evident as could you.

  7. Sister Jean Liston says:

    Thank you for sharing this powerful experience. God’s Providence is always amazing.

  8. Sister Sheila Stone says:

    Anne Marie, thank you for sharing this sad but beautiful personal experience and reminding us that God is always with us no matter what we are going through.

  9. Barbara Schiavoni says:

    Anne Marie, you brought the light of Christ and the compassion of Marguerite to Yolanda’s family before, during and after the tragedy. Accompaniment is perhaps the greatest gift we have to offer. Thank you for sharing this profound experience.

  10. mary salvadore says:

    As always, Anne Marie, you go to the “heart” of things.
    Thank you for sharing.

  11. Diane Bardol says:

    Anne Marie, there’s nothing like the power of a personal Gospel story. Thanks for allowing the grace of your experience to live on in me and all who read your reflection.

  12. Eileen white says:

    This is so powerful and we each have a connection to Martha and Mary and to your friend Yolanda. Thank you for helping the scripture come to our time, our prayer.

  13. Sister Eileen Spanier says:

    Beautiful reflection, Anne Marie. Thank you for sharing. May baby Damien’s story continue to move hearts and remind us of the fragility of life.

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