As the whole world continues to be on the watch in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic, the prophet Ezekiel sounds a clarion call, ‘Listen, you house of Israel’ (18: 25-28). This timeof pandemic is exactly that, a time to listen. Our Responsorial Psalm refrain to Psalm 24 (25:6) reads as a mantra that comforts, consoles and strengthens:
Lord, make me know your ways,
Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
For you are God my saviour.
Back at the beginning of the pandemic, Pope Francis, on the occasion of the Urbi et Orbi blessing, March 27th 2020, spoke movingly in an empty St. Peter’s Square. “Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice people’s gestures, their glances give them away”:
Remember your mercy, Lord.
The Lord is good and upright.
He shows the path to those who stray,
He guides the humble in the right path;
He teaches his way to the poor.
Paul, in his letter to the Philippians calls us ‘to be united in our convictions, and united inour love, with a common purpose and a common mind’.
These words, written two thousand years ago, echo what is being said in the media today about the pandemic. Members of the human race are asked to listen one to another, to give way to one another, to keep those peoples and nations who are dragging behind, an opportunity to catch up. We can create together the world we want to live in when we unite in our convictions, and address our common issues, such as; racism, hunger, climate change, trafficking, evil and conflict, pain and suffering, and the coronavirus.
As Pope Francis so wisely pointed out and prayed, “This is a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others.”
Remember your mercy, O Lord.
Sr. Fionnuala Quinn O.P.