SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

READINGS

From the questions people are asking me and their thought processes, I get the impression that there seems to be an underlying assumption that coronavirus is, somehow, a punishment from God for what our world has turned into—another Sodom and Gomorrah where all kinds of behavior and acts of the immoral order are judged to be okay; where liberty has turned into libertinism and whatever feels good and appealing to the individual is okay to do; a total rejection of the moral order. While this way of thinking has some biblical grounding, it is also possible to understand this pandemic from a broader existential level. Our world, like every other interactive system, has a self-corrective measure built into it. This measure may come in various forms but the bottom line is that it allows the world to reboot, just as we do with computers and electronic appliances when they short-circuit. This line of thought allows us to wonder whether our world needed to reboot in order to rediscover the value of balance in our lives; the importance of appreciating what life is truly about—what matters most, the need to appreciate the preciousness of our daily existence—the vulnerabilities associated with our own finitude, and the need to reorder our priorities in terms of what truly matters and what does not really matter. Isn’t it amazing that New York, 'the city that never sleeps', is now so asleep and all quiet; that the beautiful centers of romance, all around the world, now live in echoes; that the eternal city of Rome is deserted, Mecca is empty, and there is no more magic in Disney; that G8 nations are speechless and the developed world suddenly on its knees; that Churches, Mosques, Museums, cruise ships, stadiums are empty and no miracle workers are in insight; that the busiest places are now the most dreaded places and the dreaded places – hospitals, morgues and cemeteries—are now the busiest places. Whoever thought that our loved ones would be left to die alone and the sick left to suffer without the comfort and presence of family members? Whoever thought we would survive without watching the Premier Soccer Leagues, Sunday Football, Major League Baseball, NBA, etc. For almost two months now, we have lived without the things we thought were most important; no movies, no shopping, no eating out, no vacations, no celebrations, our expensive clothes and shoes are tucked away as house clothes and pajamas have become our latest fashion, and yet life has just simply moved on, the sun still shines, and the birds are still singing. Looking back, it is easy to see how our lives, in the pre-coronavirus era, were filled with dispensable prefixes and suffixes that, in actuality, were misplaced priorities while the things that matter most— life, family and God, took second place. The questions is: Which world shall we return back to after this pandemic; the old way of life or the new informed way of life—taking time to smell the roses; the need to stay at home more often and spend time with family, with God, and the self; the need to forgive both self and others and let go of life-baggage; the need to feel the pains of others and to make life worth it for fellow humans; the need to remember our humanity and the importance of each moment and the fragility of our temporal existence. As we prepare to move into post pandemic era, it would be important for us to remember that “death is always over our left shoulder” and there is need to constantly take care of the self, in every good way possible, because we do not know what tomorrow would bring. Let us bear in mind what Solomon had to say when he wrote: “Remember your creator in the days of your youth,…remember him—before the silver cord is severed, and the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, and the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, all is vanity (Eccl 12:1, 6-8)

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