Behind the mask there is a recent high school senior who is excited to be packing and moving to college, but apprehensive because college has limited visitors and has cut out the breaks and long weekends, encouraging students not to go home.
Behind the mask there is a soon-to-be bride not excited that her family and friends in the pews at her wedding mass will be wearing masks on the day she always dreamed about.
Behind the mask is a family member who worries every hour of every day about grandma who has been feeling more and more lonely in the nursing home without visitors over all these months.
Behind the mask is a woman grabbing some groceries and hurrying home to cook dinner for her husband who is undergoing cancer treatments and covid is just another added burden and concern.
Behind the mask is a child, who sort of understands why everyone has these masks on, but not really, and it is scary.
Behind the mask is a woman who, because of covid, was unable to attend to travel and attend the funeral of her mother, instead watching it via ZOOM.
Behind the mask is a woman whose father was diagnosed with dementia before covid and now is declining and she worries that by time she can safely travel home, he may not remember her.
Behind the masks are a couple expecting their first child and are super excited, but also worried, praying for a healthy baby and a world without covid for the new baby they are bringing into it.
Behind the masks are a grandma and grandpa who understand why their grandchildren and great-grandchildren are staying away, but they could really use a hug from those little ones.
Behind the mask is a soon-to-be 3rd grader who missed First Communion because of covid, and remains excited to receive Jesus for the first time.
In the noise, we forget there are people behind the masks. The masks make it so tears do not have to fall as far before they disappear. They are harder to see.
Please remember the masks might be covering our faces, but our hearts are not covered. We feel. Behind our masks we are still one community holding onto hope and clinging tight to our faith. Behind the masks we are human beings, each with a story and each carrying burdens you do not see. Please do not let the masks also cover our ability to see behind and beyond them.
Let us remember 1 Samuel 16:7
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance…. for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.””
This is our chance to do the same.