It is the law of nature, that creation does not live for itself, but for other creatures
We begin Holy Week as members of a world community which has been turned upside down. Some people are claiming it’s a punishment from God. So I was happy to hear Pope Francis who said, only 10 days ago: [Special Urbi et Orbi, 27-Mar-20]
“The pandemic is not a judgement from God, but a time for us to judge, to choose what matters and what passes away… it is a time to get our lives back on track.”
The Gospel at the start of Mass reminds us that Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey:
with humility and gentleness Jesus went to his betrayal, suffering and death. Is it likely that God will now come and punish us all at once for the alleged sins of a few?
And are we to judge those “sinners” as deserving of punishment, when we “good” Christians may have driven them to despair and sin as the only way they could see/find happiness?
I think of how many young people were abused by Church leaders, and even in family life by parents who called themselves “good” Christians.
Take heart, God is not happy for us to suffer. But suffering usually comes as a consequence of our actions. Perhaps, over time, causes and effects will be discovered for our suffering today. Here I use the word ‘our’ in a corporate sense: our silence allows evil/wrong doing to continue.
You might also ask the question: where is God now?
We have a choice: we can dwell on the negatives of our suffering today, or we can look on in awe at the Christ-like response of many people who reveal God’s presence among us today:
- Medical staff are generously helping the sick – even at the risk of their own safety.
- Nations are sending help to others – even Communist China are sending help.
- Thousands of people are signing up to serve meals to the elderly confined to home.
- Many companies are retaining workers – even if at reduced pay rates.
- Some hotels are opening their doors to help the street people (noted in Perth, Australia).
- Landlords telling residents to relax, they understand and will not evict them (Nairobi).
Can I be naughty and ask you (and myself): what are you doing to release the spirit of God within you? How can you be the hands, feet and mouth of God for others at this time?
25-Mar-2017, Pope Francis said: “Rivers do not drink their own water; trees do not eat their own fruit; the sun does not shine on itself and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves. Living for others is a rule of nature. We are all born to help each other. No matter how difficult it is… Life is good when you are happy;
but much better when others are happy because of you.”
Isn’t that what Jesus did for us 2000 years ago? The path to Glory = live for the good of others.
When a leaf changes colour we don’t say it’s ugly. The same with us, when our circumstances change: you, also, are not ugly: we just need a clear vision. Let us pray for the courage and wisdom not to complain but to look deeper into our situations to see how we can help others.
Because if we have the vision, that life is better, when others are happy because of us, we will find peace and joy even in the company of Mrs CoronaVirus.
Did you know that pain is a sign that our bodies are damaged and that, repairs are in progress! Studies in Europe years ago revealed that people who take pain-killers recover much more slowly than those that did not take them, or took less of them.
If we take pain-killers now: like running away and hiding; if we get drunk; if we hoard all the toilet paper around; then the world will suffer for longer…
and, eventually, we will all be caught up in the suffering anyway, and be weaker at the end.
BUT, if we embrace the pain and help repair our communities, repair the earth, help change Government policies: then the world will heal faster and we will all be stronger at the end.
I heard on the news that enquiries about religion, prayer and God have increased dramatically over the last one month. Why? Are people just desperate?
Or is it because prayer always reminds us, and others, that we are not alone!
My brothers and sisters: be careful, be helpful, and pray every day to remind yourself that God is here with us: once more suffering for us, as Jesus suffered on the Cross so many years ago.
By Gerard Conlan, OMI