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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Turning Back to God (A Perspective on Covid-19 Part 37)

Today’s readings:

Jeremiah 7:1-11

Psalm 34:2-11

1 John 4:7-16

COVID-19 has been with us for 5 months now, and still the virus continues to spread and inflict illness and death. As this is chastisement from God for the evil that is in the world, have we done enough to turn away from such evil and back to God? As God told Israel, “Reform your ways and your deeds so that I may dwell with you in this place.” (Jer 7:3).

What has the world done through the years? People have believed in the lies of Satan, and have reaped the dire consequences of that. “But look at you! You put your trust in deceptive words to your own loss!” (Jer 7:8). What specifically are the great sins of people, including Christians, in the world today?

* Abortion. “Do you think you can steal and murder” (Jer 7:9a). Those who commit abortion are murderers of the innocent unborn, and rob them of the life that God gave to them.

* Sexual immorality. “Do you think you can …. commit adultery” (Jer 7:9b). Adultery desecrates the sanctity of the marriage relationship, threatening the very intent of God for marriage and family.

* False witness. “Do you think you can commit …. perjury” (Jer 7:9c). Satan is the father of lies, and false witness degrades one’s neighbor. It is rejection of Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life.

* Satanism. “Do you think you can …. sacrifice to Baal” (Jer 7:9d). Worship of Satan is the ultimate rejection of God. It is replacing light with darkness, truth with falsehood, goodness with evil.

* Idolatry. “Do you think you can …. follow other gods that you do not know? (Jer 7:9e). People including many Christians look to other gods, such as materialism, secular humanism, astrology, Freemasonry, gender ideology, etc.

And such sins are much worse for Christians, those who God says “come and stand in my presence in this house, which bears my name, and say: ‘We are safe! We can commit all these abominations again!’” (Jer 7:10). Who are these? These are those who go to church, pray, attend Mass, receive Holy Communion, and then go and commit the same sins over and over again. These are Catholic women who contracept, Catholic doctors and nurses who participate in abortion, Catholic politicians who are rabidly pro-abortion and LGBT, Catholics who divorce, those who are into illicit sexual relationships, those who put forth fake news, those who malign and slander others.

God says, “Has this house which bears my name become in your eyes a den of thieves? I have seen it for myself!” (Jer 7:11). Many Christians today have made the houses of worship a den of thieves. They rob God of the reverential worship that is His due. They rob the sanctuary of the purity it deserves. They rob their fellow Christians of the authentic love that they should be accorded.

So what is the way for us, especially for Christians? What will it take for God’s chastisement to be lifted? This will happen “only if you thoroughly reform your ways and your deeds” (Jer 7:5a). There has to be repentance and renewal. What are the specific things that need to happen?

* “If each of you deals justly with your neighbor” (Jer 7:5b). Christians should love their neighbor as themselves, giving them what is their due, such as respect and loving care.

* “If you no longer oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow” (Jer 7:6a). This is about social justice. Christians must have a preferential option for the poor. They should defend and care for the defenseless and the least.

* “If you no longer shed innocent blood” (Jer 7:6b). Abortion is an abomination. Christians must uphold life, especially the life of the innocent unborn.

* If you no longer “follow after other gods to your own harm” (Jer 7:6c). Christians should only worship the one true God. Nothing is to take precedence over our love for, submission to, and service to God.

Then, aside from turning away from sin and evil, we must turn back to God.

* God must be the object of our worship. “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be always in my mouth.” (Ps 34:2). And we must not desecrate His sanctuary with our continued sins of commission and omission.

* We must look to God as our deliverer, the only one who can bring us out of our misery and suffering. “I sought the Lord, and he answered me, delivered me from all my fears.” (Ps 34:5). We trust not on worldly wisdom but only on God’s provident care.

* We must, with poverty in spirit, continue to implore God for complete relief and healing from this pandemic. “This poor one cried out and the Lord heard, and from all his distress he saved him.” (Ps 34:7).

* We must be in awe of God, recognizing His great power and majesty. “Fear the Lord, you his holy ones; nothing is lacking to those who fear him.” (Ps 34:10). We trust not in the might of the world, with all its technological advances, but look to God who is the ultimate power behind all of creation.

* We must look to God for whatever we need in life, knowing He is a Father who provides. “Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Ps 34:11b).

As baptized Catholics and as MFC, we are to proclaim what is right and just and true, especially to our fellow Catholics and to our Church at large. We are to be a prophetic voice in the midst of darkness and evil in the world. “Stand at the gate of the house of the Lord and proclaim this message there: Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord!” (Jer 7:2).

We continue to pray for the Lord to lift this pandemic.

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