Reflection for Easter 2020
NPHI President Reinhart Koehler shares his thoughts on the COVID-19 crisis and offers a message of hope for Holy Week.
April 10, 2020 - NPH International
|Reinhart Koehler, president of NPHI, accompanied by children at Rancho Santa Fe, NPH Honduras|
No matter what date Holy Week falls, it is always the hottest, driest, and dustiest time of the year here at Rancho Santa Fe in Honduras. The ground is brown and lifeless. Dead leaves and dust swirl in the occasional hot breeze. Smoke from forest fires near and far hangs in the air irritating your eyes and throat. It seems as though nature replicates the suffering of Jesus during his Crucifixion, with the burning sun scorching the life out of all living things.
This year the added sadness, worry, and tragedy created by COVID-19 brings the Passion of Christ closer to home than ever. I am sure all of us wake up and go to bed with heavy hearts. We worry about our loved ones, ourselves, the future, and of course, here at NPH, about the children and youth—especially those who suffer from ailments that make them more vulnerable to the virus.
I get through the day by keeping my eyes on Jesus on the Cross, knowing that the gift of life brings not only joy and happiness, but also pain and suffering. And that He is always with us and that His love carries us through it all. Most importantly, when I see Jesus on the Cross I remember the Resurrection, that even in the darkest moments of life there is hope for a new beginning. As I look outside and see the scorched earth, I remember that in just three weeks rains will paint the landscape green and it will take only a couple of days for life to spring forth with renewed strength.
As I observe our small children I am reminded of the steadiness of life, that the path goes forward one step at a time. Father Wasson used to say, “It is amazing how much you can achieve taking one step at a time.” Our small children know that something is different. They will come to use the word coronavirus and know that it is responsible for the changes around them. Yet, they continue their life with the bliss of not fully understanding all the implications of the pandemic. They laugh and cheer as they engage in their games or cry over a candy that fell into the dirt. Observing these children living their childhood in unfettered happiness reminds me that a brighter future is waiting beyond these dark times.
Entering Holy Week, the NPH Family joins in prayer to celebrate Easter within our new coronavirus protocols. During different masses there will be modified versions of the washing of the feet, the Stations of the Cross, the adoration of the Cross, the Vigil Mass, and the Resurrection Mass. You will be present in our prayers as we celebrate Easter with so many others throughout the world.
The older children at NPH have a good understanding of what the pandemic means and the tragic losses it brings to the countries where our Godparents and benefactors live. While they might not yet understand the challenges that lie ahead of us, especially in the countries where NPH works, they genuinely worry about all of you, they ask us what we know, and how you are doing. We will continue our prayers as we keep our eyes on Jesus, knowing that the resurrection of life in all its beauty is waiting for us.
God bless you and keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy. May Easter bring you closer to God.
Please support our NPH homes during this time of need. Any help you can give is well received and accepted graciously. Please visit nph.org for more information.
President, NPH International