Dealing with Life Under Lockdown

Since March of this year, the whole world has been dealing with daily life under “lockdown”. This involves staying at home, wearing marks, closing of schools and workplaces, social distancing and social gatherings. Our lives have been disrupted by this coronavirus pandemic and no medical solution has been discovered so far. We cannot see it. We cannot understand it. The pandemic has brought the world to a standstill.

The sad part of this virus is that many families have lost love ones. They were not able to be at their bedside. to say goodbye nor attend their funeral. Usually they watched their loved on buried from a distance. In addition, many people lost their jobs, small businesses and savings. The world economy is in a turmoil and it will take years for it to fully recover.

For Catholics, this has also been a time of pain and confusion. The freedom to attend Church has always been taken for granted. However, this year, lockdown has closed Churches, preventing Christians from attend Easter ceremonies, from attending Mass and receiving the sacraments. Christian organizations were forced to stop doing charitable works like providing meals to the homeless, visiting the sick in hospitals, or providing Catholic education.

Christian Faith teaches us that God makes everything work for good. Let us reflect on what good can come from such a devastating pandemic as Covid-19. What is God trying to tell us?

Saint Peter tells us: Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1Peter 2:4-5)

If we have learned anything during this crisis, it is that the Church is more than buildings and institutions. When the lockdown prevented us from attending the Church, we prayed at home. Because of modern technology, like Line, we watch Mass and heard homilies on television. It was not the same as being together in a Church, but we did experience God’s presence which united us as one people in one Faith. We prayed together because we were facing a common enemy – the coronavirus.

From this we can conclude that it is not the building that bounds Christian Believers, rather it the faith, hope, and love of the people who pray together. God is present in all believers; therefore, He is there among them when they pray together.

We are the “living stones” that St. Peter talks about. The meaning of “Church” is not a building, but the Christian community. As “living stones”, each one of us is necessary and important to continue the mission that Christ gives us. We may not be able to gather together, but we can still pray together. And the prayers of the faithful are powerful. We can make a difference because of our commitment to pray during this pandemic. Our prayers make Jesus Christ present and active in our world.

Saint Peter also tells us that: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people,[a] that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1Peter 2:9)

To be Church means to be called out of darkness. What does this mean? (1) Jesus calls us out of the darkness of sin so that we can live good lives. (2) Jesus calls us out of the darkness of fear so that we can entrust our lives to God’s protection. (3) Jesus calls us out of the darkness of selfishness so that we can help others affected by this virus. For example, we can give comfort to those who are grieving and walk with those who are distressed.

In conclusion, what is God trying to tell us during this coronavirus pandemic? God is asking us to be “living stones” in society helping others. Society and lifestyles are changing, but one thing will not change. Our mission will always be to bring Christ into a hurting world. Hopefully, this pandemic will teach us that we are “living stones” who focus on Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life, who leads us out of darkness, and sends us forth to bring the good news to the suffering.

In Asia, there are many different groups of suffering people. Let us take one example of what we can do. As “Living Stones”, let us become aware of the Rohingya community’s plight.”

We see that overcrowded Bangladeshi refugee camp makes it impossible to maintain proper distancing and overall hygiene. A representative of Caritas said. “One of the key measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic is social distancing. But if you live in a refugee camp, you don’t have the luxury of space to do this.”

“Rohingya people living in Bangladeshi refugee camps are victims four times over,” Charitas Bangladesh said. “They are victims of the violent and traumatic uprooting from their homeland in Myanmar; victims of the health emergencies such as dysentery and pox; victims of the repeated climate emergency they face when cyclones batter Bangladesh. And now they are also victims of the global coronavirus pandemic, which is bearing down on Bangladesh.”

As “Living Stones”, we must take an active role in the Rohingya community’s plight. While this emergency crisis hits these vulnerable people, we must work on all levels to ensure there is an end in sight to their suffering.”

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