Is the LORD in our midst or not? A reflection on the coronavirus pandemic by Deacon Alan Doty

Photo by Rey Spadoni

Thirteen centuries before Christ, the unity of the people of the Exodus was at risk of sinking into the sand of the desert due to their thirst… until God supplied their needs. From conflict, the event at Massah and Meribah brought the people together, strengthening them for their continued journey.

My brothers and sisters, we face this day a threat that has the potential to bring us conflict or bring us closer together. I speak of course of the coronavirus pandemic. Every day the threat seems to escalate. We are worried for ourselves and our families and friends, especially the elderly amongst us.

How we might be cope with the uncertainty that has rapidly spread throughout the world?  The coronavirus is not only a disease of the body, but also presents an existential crisis that has put governments, businesses and, most important, communities and individuals on edge. It is a huge burden placed on humanity, but hope should not be lost.

From a Catholic perspective, from a social justice perspective, from a human perspective, don’t let our Christian unity sink into the desert sands. We must not descend into selfishness at a time when we should come together as the people of God. At the very least we should avoid causing panic or fear. At times like this, rumors and false stories are sure to arise. Don’t repeat anything unless you know it is valuable and from a reputable source.

Coronavirus is contagious but love is even more so. Act with extra kindness and charity. Don’t hoard medical suppliers or food. This crisis is a burden to all of us, but especially to parents of young children home from school, to those who do not have insurance, those who do not have sick leave, and those for whom the daily activities of life are burden enough already. Social justice demand that we advocate for just treatment for those who may be disproportionally harmed by the effects of a public emergency. Think also of health care workers who through their jobs or vocations run extra risks.

Cooperate with the authorities if they tell you to stay home, especially if you are sick or may have been infected. Avoid large groups and unnecessary travel. Add these inconveniences to your Lenten penances, deepening your solidarity with all who suffer. Remember that we take these protective measures for the sake of the vulnerable. It’s an act of charity, of love, for “the least of these.”

The coronavirus poses a threat that knows no borders. As Catholics, neither does our love and concern for our neighbors. Help where you can. Run errands for neighbors who can’t get out or reach out with a phone call or text message to those who feel isolated, alone or afraid. Send some extra Lenten alms to Catholic Charities or CRS. Spread love, spread warmth, spread optimism.

And most of all, pray. This is an excellent time to strengthen your relationship with God through prayer. Pray for the health of your family, your friends and neighbors, and yourself. Pray sacrificially and offer your time in prayer for those who can not or will not pray. Pray for our Saints to pray for us. So many Saints lived through times of plague and social disruption. In a special way they know what we are going through now. Ask them to pray for the vulnerable. Pray for societies or places torn by war or extreme poverty, where medical care is not available.

Trust in God who will supply all our needs and strengthens us for our journey.

One comment

  1. The Lord is in our midst but so many forgot to trust & pray to him first . Instead , we allowed the fear & panic overwhelmed us first & lost our love for one another . It’s never too late though to change , & that begins now or the moment someone shows us there is light & hope in all of these. Inspiring post. Thanks


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