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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Being Humbled (A Perspective on Covid-19 Part 21)

Today’s readings:

1 Peter 5:5-14

Psalm 89:2-18

Mark 16:15-20

The world has become proud in its achievements and scientific advances. Many people now think they do not need God, that they can even become gods unto themselves. Even with COVID-19, God is being rejected as the ultimate source of relief and restoration.

But “God opposes the proud” (1 Pt 5:5c). And being a God of love, who does not want people to remain in their sin, He chastises them as a loving Father disciplines His children, for their own good. COVID-19 is that chastisement. Now that COVID-19 has caused the whole world to shut down, with wealth being dissipated quickly, with people no longer able to depend or hold on to what they have depended on for so long, with the greatest scientists and minds unable to quickly defeat a small invisible pathogen, the world is being humbled.

The devil of course is also at work. He is always at work. “Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Pt 5:8b). Now he uses an atheistic regime to come up with a virulent virus. But more ominously, the devil seeks the ruin of souls. And he is succeeding. He has locked down the whole world under his dominion.

As such, all are suffering, the bad as well as the good. With COVID-19, we Christians know that our “fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.” (1 Pt 5:9b). For us Catholics, aside from what everyone else is suffering, we are deprived of the sacraments. We are unable to partake of the Eucharist, which is our lifeblood. With this, we have hit rock bottom.

So God, being a God of justice, is chastising us. But He is also a God of grace and mercy. Thus, “the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ Jesus will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little.” (1 Pt 5:10). Now that is something to look forward to. But it is after we have suffered a little. Or a lot. It all depends on the gravity of the sins of the world and the degree of chastisement God intends.

So how do we hasten God’s relief? What is our way out of COVID-19?

First, we humble ourselves. The world has already seen how it is being totally devastated by an invisible pathogen. Let us not think that we control our lives, or that with our human abilities and resources we can accomplish anything. We can of course do a great deal, but it will only be with the blessings of God. His favor, grace and mercy will be on the humble. So “clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for: ‘God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble.’ So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” (1 Pt 5:5b-6).

Second, we repent of our sins and our marginalization, rejection of or rebellion against God, and we look to Him for mercy. God is loving and faithful. “I will sing of your mercy forever, Lord, proclaim your faithfulness through all ages. For I said, ‘My mercy is established forever; my faithfulness will stand as long as the heavens.” (Ps 89:2-3). So we need to pray fervently, invoking His divine mercy.

Third, we must turn to Jesus in faith and totally reject the evil one. “Resist him, steadfast in faith” (1 Pt 5:9a). We can only have either one in dominion over our lives. We are to be aware of the devil’s works and refuse to indulge in these. “Be sober and vigilant.” (1 Pt 5:8a). We must be aware of and careful about the encroachments of a fallen world into our lives. We are to reject what is not of God.

Fourth, since many in this darkened world do not really know Jesus, and even many Catholics have turned away from him, we are to do the work of evangelization, which is urgent. We are to proclaim Christ anew. This is the most important work of the Church, since this is about souls, about the very salvation Jesus has already won for us. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mk 16:16). Faith comes from hearing. We share Christ, so people can meet Christ and start to live Christ. Our Church is a missionary Church and she should get back to basics. “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” (Mk 16:15).

If the Church that Jesus himself established will do what she is supposed to do, then the assault on the true enemy can proceed vigorously. “In my name they will drive out demons” (Mk 16:17b). She will even greatly help the efforts to combat COVID-19. “They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mk 16:18c).

We in MFC have been raised to do the work of evangelization. In this, God has raised up holy warriors. We strive for holiness and we do mission. This is how we can help our Church and the world. “Blessed the people who know the war cry, who walk in the radiance of your face, Lord.” (Ps 89:16).

One more thing. If we turn to God who is mercy and love, then, no matter what troubles we are facing, we need not fear. This is what God continually tells us in His word, the Bible. “Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.” (1 Pt 5:7).

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