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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Built on Rock Part 3 (A Perspective on Covid-19 Part 20)

Today’s readings:

Acts 5:27-33

Psalm 34:2-20

John 3:31-36

“whoever disobeys the Son will not see life,

but the wrath of God remains upon him.”

(John 3:36b)

COVID-19 is God’s chastisement upon a darkened and sinful world. The great evil in the world has provoked the wrath of a righteous God, who has allowed this pandemic, as God’s discipline, by which God intends to bring people to repentance and thus back to Him. But God is not vengeful but rather is loving. As Jesus has already won salvation for us, God wants His people to find their refuge only in Him. “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the stalwart one who takes refuge in him.” (Ps 34:9).

The whole world today is on the verge of total collapse. Why? Because people have built their houses (communities and nations) on sand. They have not listened to and acted on God’s words. They have become fools. Basically they have looked to man rather than God. This is both as subject and object. As subject, man has become a god unto himself. As object, the focus has been the physical and material well-being of man rather than the righteousness of God.

Even those who are supposed to look to the interests of God, such as prelates and clerics, have substituted human wisdom for divine wisdom. It is just like the religious authorities at the time of Jesus, when the Sanhedrin ordered the apostles to stop teaching in the name of Jesus. “But Peter and the apostles said in reply, ‘We must obey God rather than men.’” (Acts 5:29). How have some Church authorities today acted, in looking to the well-being of man while neglecting the spiritual well-being of God’s people?

* Bishops closed our churches even before the state mandated their closure.

* The Church supports UN social amelioration projects that include the imposition of contraceptives and even abortion.

* There is a condemnation of proselytism when this is actually the mandate of a missionary Church, to make disciples of all the nations.

* Unrepentant sinners are accepted and embraced without telling them to amend their sinful lives. As such there is a desire not to offend the sinner, while actually offending God.

* Catholic universities look to academic excellence while neglecting the raising of men and women who are strong in their Catholic faith. As such, they do raise well-educated graduates, but not God-fearing individuals.

* Even the oratio imperata for COVID-19 just looks to praying for relief for man but not to repentance or turning back to God. As such, it is able to lift up to God our human need, but falls short of acknowledging before God why we have this pandemic in the first place.

So what are we to do? Repent, and turn back to God!

First, we must know God’s ways by listening to His words. This is how we are built on the Rock that is Christ. “For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.” (Jn 3:34a). Many Catholics do not know the authentic teachings of Christ and the Church, and many are deceived by pastors who have themselves lost their way. We have lost the fear of God and so have become fools. We need to learn to listen to God. “Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you fear of the Lord.” (Ps 34:12).

Second, we must put our faith in Jesus and act on his words. Our faith and hope for the future cannot be on ourselves or on what the world has to offer. And if we do not act on God’s words, that invites the wrath of God, and pandemics such as COVID-19, and of course much worse, the loss of eternal life. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.” (Jn 3:36).

Third, we must repent of sin and strive for righteousness in life. By grievous sins we provoke God to punish us. “The Lord’s face is against evildoers to wipe out their memory from the earth.” (Ps 34:17). We must do good in the world, and strive to bring God’s peace to the world. “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (Ps 34:15).

Fourth, we must continue to pray, and to pray hard. “The righteous cry out, the Lord hears and he rescues them from all their afflictions.” (Ps 34:18).

* We pray that the world will be delivered from COVID-19. “This poor one cried out and the Lord heard, and from all distress he saved him.” (Ps 34:7). Though we are all affected, rich and poor alike, the poor are bearing the much greater suffering.

* We pray that we will not be afraid but can put our full trust in God. “I sought the Lord, and he answered me, delivered me from all my fears.” (Ps 34:5). As this is God’s chastisement, we should trust that it will ultimately lead to good. Our hope is in the Lord.

Fifth, we must never again forsake God, but worship and bless Him always and forever. “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be always in my mouth.” (Ps 34:2).

Do you want the world to return to normal? That is, the lifting of COVID-19 but certainly not the normal life of darkness and sin. “Who is the man who delights in life, who loves to see the good days?” (Ps 34:13). The good days when lives will no longer be lost to COVID-19. The good days when people can get back to work and become productive citizens. The good days when we can once again enjoy fellowship with our friends and bask in the beauty of the outdoors. The good days when we can go to church and receive the Eucharist. The good days when we in MFC can go forth as holy warriors to do our divine mission in the world.

God has shown us the way. We build our lives on the Rock that is Christ. Yes, there will still be sufferings and pains, but our house will no longer collapse. “Many are the troubles of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” (Ps 34:20). Lord, deliver us from COVID-19, but most especially, from evil. Amen.

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