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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Plagues and the Gospel (A Perspective on Covid-19 Part 6)

The early Christians did not self-quarantine or lock themselves down in their homes, but plunged, so to speak, into the plague. Today, with COVID-19, we have closed our churches, cancelled the Eucharistic celebration, stopped recollections and retreats, forgone pilgrimages, shut down places of healing, and will have no public observance of Holy Week. This certainly looks like a pagan response to me.

The reality is that this plague, though already termed by the WHO as a pandemic, is not, in most places, of truly grand proportions. Infection rates are not that high, and the mortality rate is low.

Were the early Christians being foolish? Perhaps. But we are called to be fools for Christ. We are to be holy, that is, set apart. No, this does not refer to social distancing. It means acting in markedly different ways from that of the world. While in the world there is great fear, we are not to be afraid. While the world looks to human resources for a cure, we, in addition, look to God. While the world, especially liberals, scoffs at prayer, we look to prayer as crucial. While the world is in panic, we trust in God. While the world fears infection and death, we see death as just the gateway to life.

We must be thankful that COVID-19 is nowhere as deadly as the great plagues of years past. But why is the world, and especially our Church, shutting down because of it? Where is our supernatural faith?

Expanding social networks

Our evangelization had always been person-to-person. We do have our programs, but the proclamation of the gospel starts with each member speaking about the faith to another, oftentimes those in our social circles. Now, with social distancing, lockdown and quarantine, with avoidance of large groups getting together, how do we go about our mission?

First, you are still in touch with people through social media. And perhaps people have more time now for social media. So in your interactions, inject the spiritual dimension of what is going on. There is fear and uncertainty in the hearts of many. They are looking for answers. Perhaps they would be more receptive to spiritual matters.

Second, continue with the Liturgical Bible Study in your small groups. You can still get together physically. If not, set up an Internet chat group. Look to inviting more and more people to these LBS groups. “Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” (Rom 10:17). The LBS, as we look to the readings for Sunday, takes special significance now that Masses have been cancelled.

Third, look to mounting the Christian Life Seminar (CLS) in homes, with smaller groups. We have already been doing this, but current lockdowns make this ideal.

Onward, holy warriors

The greatest disease is the disease of the soul. It is being apart from God. If the world today is so very invested in finding a cure/vaccine for COVID-19, how much more should the people of God desire to put an end to the spiritual plague. Such is our life and our work.

Perhaps the current plague is providing us a unique opportunity. To put in in a macabre way, let us not let a good plague go to waste.

God bless and protect you all.


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