Coronavirus Reminds us of our Human Fragility

COVID-19 has affected all systems of human life globally. I have been reflecting and praying to know what God is teaching us through this present crisis. In this article, I try to answer to four challenges that we are encountering today. Some say, “It’s God’s justice, acting in this way.” All including young and old are really frightened and scared. Some also say, “There is a faith crisis.” Human life is very fragile.

The Bible tells us that when people went against God, did not follow his commandments, lived lives of infidelity worshiping other gods and continued to indulge in apostasy and idolatry despite the warnings given by the prophets sent by God, they met with crisis after crisis and lost their identity as the chosen people of God.

For instance, the great flood perished the wicked (Gen 5: 6 -7). When the people turned to commit apostasy and idolatry, God wanted to burn them (Ex 32). He sent fiery serpents into the people for complaining about lack of food and water (Num 21: 4-6). The people of the northern part of Palestine were taken to Assyria in 722 BC and forced into inter caste marriages. The people of the southern kingdom were taken as captives to Babylon in 587 BC for over 40 years. As they willfully went away from God promoting idolatry and apostasy, they had many trials in their lives.

One begins to ask, “Is the present crisis of COVID-19 a justice given by God as we read in OT?” We know that God’s justice comes with mercy. It is the time to ask God, “Lord, show us your mercy and save us.” There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us, that it is rather hard to tell which of us ought to reform the rest of us. The fact is that we all need to be reformed. So the strong message is: “Repent, and return to the Lord.”

Second, fearfulness is visible in every one of us. Fear of the future is a horrid thing; it prevents us from living for today. If we are sure we are in the journey of our faith, there is no need to fear; we can defeat it. All that we do in a day to day life – all our activities - will have to take God into account. If our activities do not take God into account, fear will haunt us heavily. All those who act according to God’s commandments and walk in the journey of faith and hope will not be trapped in the shadowed chamber of coronavirus. As long as we do not lose hope in our journey of faith whatever the trials, we will realize that we are in the hands of God.

Third, we do not know who has the virus? When is it being transmitted to others? Am I contracting this deadly virus? I am careful, but anxious about it! All these anxieties raise a question, “Does it not induce effects of losing God?” At the peripheral level, it may appear so, but deep down the hearts of many are turning towards God. It is a fact, many are praying more than ever in their life time. If some are not, this is an opportunity to turn to God. Fourth, despite modern medical advancement it is a challenge to contain this invisible disease, not spreading it to others. So coronavirus is an occasion to remind ourselves of our human fragility. This global crisis at least has the advantage of reminding us that we live in a common home and that we're all vulnerable and interdependent and that it's more urgent to cooperate with each other.

Sometimes, people go about doing things attempting to hide from the fact that we are mortal. If you are closed off to the spiritual dimension of your life, you are losing ground. We may have more and more sophisticated and efficient techniques available and claim to master everything. But in the end with all that is happening around us and in the world, we need to realize the fact that we're not the masters of life! There is someone above us - God. As the people of Israel were saved from the bite of the fiery serpents when they looked at the serpent lifted high on a pole, let us at look at the crucifix of our Lord for strength and our redemption in this difficult time of trials.


In the Service of the Lord,
   Father Thainese Alphonse



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