Sssh… By Fr Jerry Orbos SVD

MOMENTS – 4th Sunday of Lent, March 22 2020

The story is told about a motorist who, upon reaching a checkpoint, saw not only policemen, but doctors and nurses as well, which made him comment, “I thought this was only a checkpoint. I didn’t know it was a check-up as well.”

In today’s Gospel (John 9:1-41), we hear about a blind man who was healed by Jesus and who experienced a “checkpoint” moment from the crowd and elders who interrogated him, and cross-examined him about his person and well-being. On the other hand, he experienced a “check-up” moment from Jesus, who affirmed his person and assured his well-being. In dealing with COVID-19, we need the checkpoints to prevent its spread, but we also need check-ups to lift us up from hopelessness and fear.

All of a sudden, life has changed. The lockdown and the community quarantine have made us all slow down, except for the brave frontliners out there who have to work extra hard these days to ensure our good health, safety, security, as well as our provisions. Fr. Sedfrey Nebres, SVD, said it well, pointing out that the lockdown has made us slow down, and kneel down, as a country, as a people, and as a global community.

Focus more on Jesus, and less on the virus. We must not give in to fear, panic, and hopelessness. We must not deny the hard facts and realities that confront us. Neither should we deprive ourselves of our faith that can embolden us. We pray on. Prayer does and can make a difference.

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46,10). Read: The virus is not God. God is greater than the virus!

Self-quarantine is something that the virus has made us do, but try this: SQ + G – LQ = PQ, that is, Self Quarantine, plus God, minus Lovers’ Quarrels, equals Peace and Quiet. Jesus can do more than the virus!

Please remember that “social distancing” does not mean to be detached and uncaring of what is happening to people around us. Let us not be imprisoned by our fears, and let us not forget that the sufferings of people around us is real. I cannot forget the face of an elderly taxi driver who, in tears, said in a television interview: “Ang hirap maging mahirap…” (It is difficult to be poor…)

This year, we are experiencing the season of Lent in a very real way like no other. We have become more prayerful, more concerned about each other, more aware of peoples’ sufferings, and more resolved to change for the better. We have also realized that Church begins in our homes.

SSSH… Hush. Be still. God is in control. This, too, will pass soon. Believe, and keep on believing. God is speaking. Keep listening.

SSSH… May these days of trials and tribulations become days of Silence, Simplicity, Sharing, and Holiness. May COVID-19 make us all GO WITH God once again.

Message of frontliners to all of us: “I took the risk, I went to work for you. Please do your part. Stay home!”

For the first time in my life as a priest, I have no entry in my appointment notebook. Indeed, everything has been canceled, except the love of God, and our appointment with Him.

Breakthrough is coming. It will. But when this crisis will be finally over, may we not be left with these three regrets: that we lacked faith in God; that we lacked love for each other; that we did not do, give, and become our very best.

In solidarity with the whole world, we proclaim Psalm 117: “O praise the Lord all you nations, acclaim Him all you peoples; strong is His love for us, He is faithful forever!”

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, may COVID-19 make us GO WITH You, and with each other again.

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