In the Lent the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in full force. Although Easter has gone, the pandemic is still raging in our world. Somehow, Lent still feels near. Lend and Easter are all around us in a mysterious mix of blame, selfishness, and wants with goodness, generosity, and compassion. These days of shut-in and stay-at-home ring a quiet becoming call to us as missionaries. Listen, hear God’s call; hear Jesus’ words: “Come aside and rest awhile.” Can you not pray one hour with me? Martha, you are busy abut many things; but Mary has chosen the better part. Peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give.” In the suffering, in the uncertainty, and even in the fears we hear the Spirit calling and whispering to us to step aside, to be still.
We stay in the quiet, gathered together as one community. Like the women who followed Jesus during his life and onto his death and burial, we are puzzled and do not understand; Life as we know/knew it is buried by this pandemic. We ponder the WHY: why is this happening? Why can’t we do something? Why didn’t someone/anyone see this coming? Why couldn’t this have been avoided? We hear the blaming ad see the finger pointing. Sometimes we join the ranks of blaming. We see how one action (on on-action) affects many, rippling out into the neighborhood, the nation, the world. It is a lesson still being learned and yet to be lived.
Why can’t we missionaries go out? Like the disciples, we sit in the upper room of our hearts fearful and wondering where is that Spirit that was promised? When is the Spirit that was promised going to come? God love the world so much… What really is the message of Easter, of Jesus’ giving all for love of all? What reverberates and spreads like the virus? Yes, we see signs everywhere the reaching out in so many ways: neighbor-helping neighbor; medics risking lives to help others; friends using technology to stay in touch; family doing face time. We see it in our own communities as we live more closely together, as we grow in consideration for the well-being of others by “distancing” and wearing masks. We learn new ways of being together and grow more deeply in our understanding of one another and of being a missionary presence.
The experience of this pandemic gives greater insight into Jesus’ command: “Go out into the whole world.” The love and care we show each other during these “shut-in” days spreads into the whole world. Moving with hope toward the reopening of our countries and economies, we know a new world is dawning. Life will not be the same. We know because we believe Jesus lives and goes before us. Immersed in the life of the Trinity transforming the world with compassion, we go from “pandemic” to NEW LIFE. (Courtesy Sr. Judith Vallimont, SSpS – SSpS Mission magazine August 2020)