And I will offer within His tent a sacrifice of joy
Jesus continues to offer Himself continually on our altars for the salvation for souls who will receive Him. Even though the church doors were closed for 3 months, the same amount of Masses continued to be offered daily in our church, and all of them with the same infinite value. Our Lady of Peace’s doors had remained open 24/7 for over 30 years with uninterrupted perpetual adoration. When the mandate came to close the doors to the churches, it seemed inconceivable that perpetual adoration could come to a halt. But the adoration continued. Since there is a good number of religious priests and sisters at Our Lady of Peace, the perpetual adoration was able to continue. The people knew the prayer line had not been cut off, because they were able to join us through livestreamed Masses, rosaries and virtual holy hours. Many people came to the church, and would be found at any hour of the day or night, at any temperature, on their knees outside of the church, or adoring Our Lord from outside a window. It is no wonder that when we were allowed to worship publicly again, but only outside and with a limit of 60 people per Mass, the 60 person limit was not going to be enough, even for daily Mass, to accommodate all those who wanted to come though they were not obligated to do so.
The solution to this problem was outdoor Masses in cars. While only 60 people were allowed to gather outside, 100 cars were allowed to gather as well, with no limit to how many were in the vehicles. We had an outdoor tent constructed and a stage. We set up an altar, the candles, the cross, and began celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the parking lot of our church. Day after day, the parking lot has been filling to capacity- 100 cars for each of the 8 Sunday Masses and is filled for the 4 daily Masses too. There may have been fear that the people would lose a sense of the sacred, but to see each person hunched over their steering wheel in intimate prayer, adoring the presence of Jesus within them, you are left in awe that God goes so far in search of us even to meet us in our vehicles!
Now we see new life in the parish. The shrine is filled with people. The confession line is filled with people; the parking lot is packed with cars. People know that something is happening here. New faces, new life, new growth, and a deepening sense of one’s dependence on God are all rising to the surface after a period of darkness. Our church is located on a busy street, Great America Parkway, in which can be heard a variety of very secular sounds: screams as people dropped from the drop tower and roller coasters at Great America, cheering crowds of sports fans and even loud music from the concerts at Levi’s stadium. All these sounds echo as they bounce off the computer buildings here in the heart of Silicon Valley. Now, all of those sounds have been silenced, and a new sound bounces off the surrounding computer buildings: it is the voice of the priest as he preaches the Truth in His homily, it is the song of praise to God that the cantor sings, it is the Holy, Holy, Holy being sung as the Eucharistic sacrifice is about to transpire on the parking lot altar, it is the “through Him, with Him, and in Him” as the priest elevates the consecrated Host and the Chalice, and the Triple Amen. It is thrilling to hear these sounds resonate in the air, and encouraging to see the passers-by stop to listen.
We give thanks to God, who in His mercy continues to come very far in search of us, and so we will “offer within His tent a sacrifice of joy.”
“I will sing and make music for the Lord”