In the light of COVID 19 businesses are recalibrating, financial reporters say. “Recalibrating” is GPS language. More that assessing the situation once, changes have to be implemented ongoing, quickly, to get us where we’re going. It’s not business as usual.
Every institution in society has to recalibrate. What about religious institutions? Right now, we’re absorbed in the immediate changes we have to make because of COVID 19. We’ve shut down our churches, our sacramental system, and there are still changes ahead. This is a call for lenten conversion we didn’t expect.
What shall we do? Certainly religious people have to respond now and in the future to the loss of hope people are feeling because of COVID 19.. Not only are people losing hope in their institutions. They’re wondering about God. Where is God in all this?
Faith helps people not to lose hope in the journey we’re on as a human community and the journey of creation itself. We need to turn to it and question it.
“We believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.”
God’ creation is good. There’s a purpose, a destiny in this world of ours.
But if you look at our world from its beginning 13.5 billion years ago, It’s a world almost impossible to comprehend. It doesn’t evolve in any orderly way that we can understand. It has a bewildering way of developing. A bewildering complexity.
We’re not living in a tidily planned world we sometimes preach or teach about in our catechisms and sermons. The Coronavirus is an unexpected reminder how little we know about this world of ours.
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the world?”
That’s the question God asks Job in the Bible. Job’s suffering, trying to make sense out of things. As God ends a long litany of the mysteries of creation, Job humbly admits there’s something bigger than himself and the human family here.
“Where were we when the foundations of the world were laid?” God asks us now.. We have to be humble before the world we live in. And science itself doesn’t have all the answers either.
Besides humility, we need to appreciate the glory of the world we live in, especially in dangerous times, like today. Yesterday we read from the Book Daniel, about Azariah praying in the fiery furnace, part of that long prayer of the children who praise sun and moon, stars of heaven, every shower and dew, snow and rain – in a fiery furnace.
Their prayer is one the the key canticles we pray every Sunday and feast day in the morning prayer of the church. Creation, as well as being mysterious, dangerous at times, sustains humanity in the fiery furnace.
Religious institutions are going to have to recalibrate. Just think about what going on now. Our churches, our parishes, our sacraments, our retreat centers our shrines are shut down. Were there times before like this? I think of times of persecution for Christians.
I also think of the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Jewish worship was shut down. Jewish leaders then, the scribes and Pharisees we hear about in Matthew’s gospel, recalibrated and kept Judaism alive.
As this crisis goes on, I think we’re going to have to think a great deal about our church and our community. We have to recalibrate.
In our first reading today from the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses prepares his people “for the land you are entering to occupy.” “Therefore, I teach you the statutes and decrees as the LORD, my God, has commanded me,” he says, “Give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations,” he tells them, so that they may say, “This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.”
That’s directed to us. We’re going to occupy a new land.
Hope, living how, not just wishful thinking – so essential. Thank you.
Glad you kept that water from the Jordan and rocks from the Land. Great trip.
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We received this forward from a dear friend and are sharing it with family and friends.
Peace, Gloria & Ted
Subject: Something to think about
Yes, there is fear. Yes, there is isolation. Yes, there is panic buying. Yes, there is sickness.
Yes, there is even death. But, they say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise you can hear the birds again. They say that after just a few weeks of quiet the sky is no longer thick with fumes but blue and grey and clear. They say that in the streets of Assisi People are singing to each other across the empty squares, keeping their windows open so that those who are alone may hear the sounds of family around them. They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound. Today a young woman I know is busy spreading fliers with her number through the neighborhood so that the elders may have someone to call on. Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples are preparing to welcome and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary. All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting. All over the world people are looking at their neighbors in a new way. All over the world people are waking up to a new reality: To how big we really are, to how little control we really have, to what really matters, to Love. Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now. Today, breathe. Listen. Behind the factory noises of your panic, the birds are singing again. The sky is clearing. Spring is coming, And we are always encompassed by Love. Open the windows of your soul.
And though you may not be able to touch across the empty square, Sing.
Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM March 13th 2020
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Good article, Gloria
Wonderful words of hope. Reminds me of this poem by Paul Field “May You Be Known By Love”
through the violence of these days.
in all your ways.
in troubled times
let holiness be your aim.
burn like a flame.
God speed you!
God lead you,
and keep you wrapped around His heart!
May you be known by love.
in a world of greed and lies.
through heaven’s eyes.
God hold you,
and keep you wrapped around His heart.
May you be known by love.
Beautiful poem, Dan