Pandemics have been around for a very long time. We have all heard of them in history and might have had experience of them in our lives.

I, myself, have learned a lot about the Spanish flu of 1918-19. Where I come from in Canada, people used to talk about it all the time. Some of their relations died during that time. I have been to Redemptorist cemeteries where I have seen many graves of confreres that died during those years.

Yet Covid19 arrived suddenly and caught us totally unprepared. It has brought about a sense of bewilderment and helplessness. Some of us might still think that it is not that serious. Many have said that the pandemic will cause the world to change. It will never be the same again. I believe it has already changed and it is not all bad.

The loss of money, employment, and the obvious sense of the loss of freedom and movement are just the beginning. Many things which we have taken for granted, including our beliefs and values, have also been turned upside down. We openly express fear. During this pandemic, we have had a lot more time to reflect on things. It seems that so many now feel the need for more simplicity in life. We know what is really necessary and what is essential.

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What we used to think of as important are probably not that important anymore. Family, friends, belonging to a community, are being seen as essential elements of our lives. This of course is not bad, because these things are in fact basic elements of a Christian life.

We may realize as Pope Francis has taught us that “we have had enough of immorality and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith and honesty.”

Perhaps the pandemic has shown us that we must review our sense of responsibility for our neighbour and for every person.

You will have noticed that the homeless are living in hotel rooms. The poor have been receiving money into their bank accounts. The Christian message still has come out in this time of crisis. This is good of course. I believe that God is speaking to us in the silence we find ourselves in during this time.

The protests and revolts in recent times teach us that we are all in this together and that the colour of our skin is not a point of difference but rather a point of unity we find in our faith in God.

Covid19 has placed the “poor” right in front of our eyes. Jesus Christ has taught us that the very basis of our Christian faith is the fact that the poor and oppressed are the source of our identity as Christians. The virus has shown us that the sick, the suffering, the poor are at the very heart of the gospel message. Our faith is seen in our love and service to one another. In this sense the virus has brought out the very best in our nature. You will have noticed that the homeless are living in hotel rooms. The poor have been receiving money into their bank accounts. The Christian message still has come out in this time of crisis. This is good of course. I believe that God is speaking to us in the silence we find ourselves in during this time.

Bishop Peter Stasiuk C.Ss.R. AM

This article was published in The Church and Life Newspaper

This post is also available in: Ukrainian