29th May 2020

At the very circumstances of CoViD-19 pandemic God advises us to be courageous: Once we
recognize we are sheltered by God, we can completely conquer fears and live a life of
courage. God continually reminds us not to be afraid: “Be strong and bold; have no fear or
dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or
forsake you” (Deut 31:6). Word of God enables us to have courage: ‘Immanuel’ (Is 7: 14; Mt
1: 23) is with us till the end of the ages (Mt 28:20). Despite the fact that courage is a required
quality and to live a life of courage is predominantly endowing, being courageous when it
comes to our Christian faith is a lot easier said than done.
We must always remember that it is not the first pandemic that the Church faces. She forges
it and goes forward. Courage involves readiness to face fear and uncertainty. Courage is not
the absence of fear; it is acting in spite of the fear. Christians know fear, but forge forward
anyway. They don’t allow their fear to paralyze them. They confront fear, pain, perceived
danger, uncertainty and intimidation head on because they know they are called to stand
against the evils. Understand that with God’s protection and guidance, we have nothing to
fear and can conquer anything.
Courage echoes our confidence in God. Our courage manifests how deep rooted we are in
Christ when it comes to forging all circumstances. St. Paul says “You are in no way
intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your
salvation. And this is God’s doing” (Phil 1:28). Don’t let the pandemic retain you from
articulating who you are, or where you are in your relationship with Christ. Once we validate
our courage in personal lives by sharing our faith with others, it forges our commitment to
God and forwards our commitment to share the Gospel with others, no matter the
Christians are born anew in baptism to take up their cross to follow Christ. Christians
recognize that they may be crucified by those who don’t agree with their faith or their values.
We live during a time where lockdowns or state emergencies to save our neighbors from a
lonely death from the disease called CoViD-19. Christians know about how a pandemic can
become a way to serve God and neighbor. Finding a Christian who worked with victims of
epidemics can be a struggle—because there are too many to count! During the 3rd-century
Plague of Cyprian (famous for killing upwards of 5,000 people a day in Rome), Christians
were reported running toward sufferers, eager to nurse them whatever the cost. In Alexandria
(where two thirds of the population was lost to this plague) St. Dionysius wrote of the
Christians, “Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need
and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they
were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their
neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains.” Mrs. Harriet Tubman, an African-American
abolitionist and humanitarian, was another epitome of bravery and courage in the face of
insurmountable odds. She never learned to read but had a capacious memory for Scripture
and other material that facilitated her spellbinding oratory. Working with white and black
Methodist churches in Auburn, New York, she helped the indigent, sick, poor and elderly …”
Her escape from slavery and returning again and again into the belly of the beast to save
others should inspire and encourage all the Church personnel to forge forward.
Let the Holy Spirit continue to forge all frightened disciples of Jesus to be courageous
apostles to live for others, in the spirit of sharing, caring and bearing one another’s burdens.
Let the continued works of the health professionals at day and night to care for an ever
increasing number of sick patients bring forward life in abundance. Let us give kudos to the
grocery store workers, postal workers, police and many others, for their courage and
availability, who are performing essential jobs with a smile. May the Spirit of fortitude
encourage them to forge forward.