Making God more present around us, more than the virus

March 16, 2020 – Monday 3rd Week of Lent

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Why would the people reject Jesus? Why was it too difficult for them to accept him?

People at that time became aggressive and even violent towards Jesus particularly because of the attitude that Jesus was showing to them. The Jews at that time believed that the Messiah was only for the Jews. Indeed, the people believed that God only belonged to them, as if, God cannot be God to others but only to them.

However, Jesus showed a different image of God. He presented to them a Messiah that welcomes everybody, the sinners and the righteous, the sick and the healthy, the poor and the rich, the gentiles and Jews, believers and non-believers of God. 

This is what we find in the story of Naaman, the Syrian Army Commander who was healed from his leprosy. Despite his unbelief at the beginning, but when he submitted himself to the advice of Elisha, Naaman became a witness and a recipient of God’s goodness and healing power. This has moved Naaman, a foreigner, to recognize God through Elisha.

This tells us now that God initiates to approach those who are even non-believers, even those who are doubting and confused. And God initiates to approach, to call through people whom God has chosen as witnesses and instruments of God’s presence and power.

This is fully expressed through the person of Jesus, yet, the people whom God has chosen as God’s people, the Jews, denied and rejected God-self in Jesus. They couldn’t accept because they wanted to monopolize God. This is where the people at that time failed to recognize God who was just around them.

For us today, we too are called to recognize God who is just around us. God has chosen witnesses, prophets and instruments to bring His presence and power to all. And this is where we can find the two invitations for us today.

First, open our eyes to see and recognize how God works in our life. Be more sensitive also of God’s presence working in the life of others because God brings his grace to us through people around us. Like Naaman, we are invited to be welcoming of God’s instruments who could just be our family member, a friend, a colleague or even a stranger.

Second, allow Jesus to make us His instruments. Like Elisha, be more welcoming of those who seek help from us. Indeed, God calls us in our own capacity to be an instrument of healing and of God’s grace. We may be moved to make ourselves available for God and for others out of gratitude to God.

Thus, in a concrete way, and as we are now facing a difficult situation because of the pandemic Covid-19 virus, not just for our country but for the whole church and the global community, be instruments and witnesses not of indifference and selfishness but of goodness and charity, of healing and mercy for others. Reports of hoarding some medical supplies or even of food, and provoking panic to others, do not help our community. These attitudes would just deprive others and worsen the situation. We may be moved, then, to respond to those who are in need in whatever capacity we have. In this way, we truly make God ever more present around us, more than the virus. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR


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