Let the sunshine in! By Fr Jerry Orbos SVD

MOMENTS on the 5th Sunday of Lent / 1 , March 29 2020

The story is told that about two weeks ago, many people were “going bananas” over bananas to fight the COVID-19. A week later, another “fruit panic” over papaya escalated. Why? Because a lot of people became constipated.

In today’s Gospel (Jn. 11, 1-45), Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, showing that He is the Lord of the dead and the living. What a powerful message for all of us as we experience the panic over losing our lives, and those of our loved ones. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46,10)

The facts around us are scary and real, but remember that the fears inside us are manageable because of our faith that can help us overcome our fears. We have a choice—to be imprisoned by our fears, or to turn to Someone greater than ourselves, and to believe that He is in complete control, and that He has a plan through it all.

Let us choose to live a Jesus-driven life, not a virus-driven life. Let us choose trust over panic, peace over hatred, sharing over greed, hope over despair. Yes, we have a choice to focus more on Jesus, and less on the virus. Let us also not miss the “silver lining,” the blessings, the healing, and the learnings that are happening because of COVID-19. Let the sunshine in!

God is fixing the world, including you and me, especially during these days of cleansing and purification. A new order, a new earth is emerging, and, hopefully, we, the occupants of this world, would become less proud and less greedy in our thoughts, words, and deeds.

Picture this: Let us load all the COVID-19 into a hot air balloon, send it up, up and away, along with our negativities and our old ways, including our personal and individual sins and bad habits. Begone!

By the way, self-quarantine is not new. Read Isaiah 26:20: “Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by.”

I paraphrased the song “The Cruel War” by Peter, Paul and Mary in the 1960s, to honor our frontline heroes out there: The COVID-19 war is raging/ frontliners have to fight/ risking life and well-being/ from morning till night/ Oh, Lord, please be with them/ and keep them from all harm/ bless their homes and their loved ones/ this world and our land…

Let us learn from the sunflowers. They always face and follow the sun, but when it is cloudy, they do not wilt. Why? Because instead of looking down at the ground, they face each other, reach out, and share their sunshine and energy within. Yes, let the sunshine in!

During these days of fear and darkness, let us seek God’s light, and let us all become “light of the world” in our own little way. “May the darkness of sin and the night of unbelief (and COVID-19!) vanish before the light of the Word and the Spirit of grace, and may the heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all. Amen.” (Saint Arnold Janssen)

Think about this: “Stress makes you believe that everything has to happen now; faith reassures you that everything will happen in God’s time.”

“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has struck us, but He will bind up our wounds. He will revive us after two days; On the third day, He will raise us up, to live in His presence.” (Hosea 6)

A moment with the Lord: Lord, let Your love surround us, and let Your light shine upon us! Amen.

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