We can’t even see it! This invisible enemy. Yet how efficient and terrible it is! We had come to the point as a global community that we thought that we were freed from the past and that we had a glorious future ahead of us. We have traveled to Outer Space. We can visit any place on earth. We have an arsenal of weapons to protect ourselves. And yet….
This virus has humbled our world. We thought we could have it all and that nothing could stop our progress. And yet… Even people say, “God was a nice concept and maybe He is hanging out somewhere, but we really don’t need a god.” The pride of Adam is still in evidence! This idea that we don’t need God is at the root of our secular culture. Just as we have banished God from the Public Square, we have also given Him a termination notice from running the world. We thought that we were smart enough to do it. We thought we could be our own gods!
For people of faith, on the other hand, we never doubted our need for God. We have always known how vulnerable we are and how, without God, we are lost. It is a sad story. On the Left, Communists said there was no need for God and that He was dead. So, they produced the agony of the Gulag and the millions lost in China’s Cultural Revolution. On the Right, the National Socialists produced genocide and the Final Solution. Even here in America, our pride has sanctioned slavery, the mistreatment of native populations and the genocide of preborn Americans.
It stands to reason that God would need to get our attention and allow this virus to humble our pride; to wake us up.
It is a time for prayer and sacrifice.
It is a time for ultimates. By this I mean that, with sickness and death all around us, who of us has not thought about their own deaths and the sicknesses that lead there? Who of us has not asked themselves: “Does anything matter? Do I matter?” And when it comes to others close to us, we consider the possibility that they can suddenly be taken away from us, and then what?
The lack of Sacraments, the dearth of opportunities to mourn our loved ones and to visit and comfort the sick create an ambience of uncertainty and isolation.
A time for ultimate concerns and ultimate losses and final issues.
Yet this is Easter time in which we remember that death has been defeated by Christ; that being a Christian is a vocation to hope; that, in the face of these ultimates, we say: “I believe in God. I believe in the victory of Christ. I am not alone. I live in the Holy Spirit.” These are not vague wishes. We speak them with conviction and meaning, in spite of doubts. Because, in this Pandemic, we understand perhaps more deeply what the Resurrection means in our life.
After the Crucifixion and the burial of Jesus, Mary and the Apostles must have felt that all was lost. Their Lord, their friend, her Son; brutally tortured, shamed and murdered in front of them before a cheering crowd. His disciples hiding out, fearful of being arrested as part of His movement. They must have felt all was lost and there was no hope. That Sabbath must have been very quiet, subdued and tearful, just like what we are experiencing now.
What a turnaround that Sunday morning! The story continues! Jesus is alive, transcendent! Hope grows. We have seen the Lord! Suddenly, the gloom had lifted and the new reality had begun. Praise the Lord!
We are in that long Holy Saturday. Death and disappointment are all around us. Everything is changed. But it is not the end of the story. He is Risen!
We will emerge as a global community, hopefully a little wiser, and a little humbler. We might be able to see the price of pride and the beauty of Christ who will never abandon us, not even in the E.R.s of this plague.
Death may seek us out, but it has no lasting power over us, because He is Risen. And that is the last word.
Christus Vincit! Christus Regnat! Christus Imperat!