COVID-19 Expect the Unexpected: Family Reflection
Sisters and brothers in Christ, these days some of us may feel hopeless, confused, and fearful about the COVID-19 pandemic. We hear numbers for the countries affected, for the people who have contracted the virus, and for those who have actually died. We hear advice on how to take care of ourselves and those around us. We should wash our hands, avoid touching other people, and stay home if we are sick or have a weak immune system. We have seen the stock market go down quickly and significantly. And now we are hearing the owners of small businesses, people in lower income levels, and others who feel the ripple effect crying “ouch”! Just when we thought life was good with vaccines and treatments for many feared diseases, we get a surprise. Just when we thought God was blessing us, something happened. Life stopped going as we expected.
In today’s reading, something similar happened in the life of a successful army commander Naaman: he contracted leprosy. God told Elisha, a prophet of Israel’s, that Naaman could be healed by washing in the Jordan river seven times. He was too proud to wash in an Israeli river and became angry. He wanted to be healed his way, not God’s way. But he was in a “pickle.” So he obeyed the prophet, and the unexpected happened: he was healed.
Similarly in the in the Gospel, we see Jesus being rejected by His own people who were expecting the Messiah to come as a king. When He came, as a humble ordinary human being, born to Mary and Joseph, they did not believe Him. God had not done it the way they had expected.
In the present situation, we can also feel that God is not giving us what we want the way we expect it. We too are in a “pickle.” Many of us have been living a good life with many opportunities for maintaining good health and economic stability and enjoying luxuries. Now, we have an unexpected crisis. So, what we must do?
Henri Nouwen said he used to get irritated by unexpected interruptions, then he realized the interruptions were God’s way of speaking to him.
As individuals and as families, we must pray together. God will send forth His light and His fidelity in an unexpected way to bring us to His Holy Mountain, to His dwelling place. We must pray for our medical and scientific researchers to have the insight and wisdom they need to find means of prevention and treatment, for those caring for the sick, and for our political leaders to listen and make wise decisions for us.
Let us pray together … and accept God’s way.
Please watch Father Pinto Paul, C.S.C., deliver this message on Facebook.
About Father Pinto Paul, C.S.C.
Father Pinto Paul C.S.C., ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1999, worked with tribal populations in northeast India as a missionary for ten years. In 2010 he came to the US for further studies. While working as a campus minister at Stonehill College, he assisted pastors in local parishes, led seminars and workshops for teachers and students in the US and earned a master’s degree in Educational Administration from Boston College and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Lesley University, Cambridge. He is currently working as the International Director of the Boston-based Holy Cross Family Ministries with missions in 17 countries.