July 5, 2020 – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/070520.cfm)
We are now approaching our fourth month of living life under pandemic era. While lockdowns and quarantine are easing out but still under threat of possible surge since viable vaccines are yet to be found, we cannot deny from now we live our lives along with the realities and threats of viral pandemic infections. Life indeed has changed and still changing, and we have to cope with what our lives has now become. As CoVID-19 are now here to stay with us, whether we like or not we need to think through now and beyond about the so-called new normal life. Time for us then to discover the New Normal.
New normal life is not only about how we live our lives now as we adapt with our changing world, but it also involves looking back on our recent past – on how our “Normal” lives has been then before pandemic as well as looking forward on possible near future – on how “New” our lives can be. Rather than just reacting to daily demands of present challenges of life, we may respond by having a wider view of our life then, life-now, and life-can be OR what was “Normal” then and what is/can be “New” now.
Perhaps we could say that our life back then has been convenient. Normally, we had MORE in terms of access, independence, mobility, resources, and possibilities yet also more stressed, tired, burdened, lonely with work, responsibilities, roles/functions, trivialities, but less time, healthy, depth and principled lifestyle in person and in spirit. And Now…. we abruptly find ourselves Limited. The very things we normally enjoy and complain about back then are now (if not deprived) constricted. The more we normally had then are now less, though the less we had then we now have more.
Somehow back then we normally concern ourselves with Quantity in life, and now we value more our Quality of life. We have been enslaving ourselves then with treasure-hunting and amassing/wasting things, but now we find ourselves time to treasure-valuing (giving value to what we have and who we are now). Back then, we busy and tire ourselves with lots of activities and actions, and now we have to take care and enjoy our presence and relationships. We realize now that there is more to life than just our actions and what we have done, and doing in life. We realize that we are human beings, and should be not just mere human doings. Time for us to BE Human than just DO human.
In our gospel, we hear Jesus personally invites us to “Come to me”. In response, we tend to think and ask: “to do what?”. Normally we tend to control and fix life-invitations and challenges with plan, program and activities (things to do & not do). But what Jesus inviting us for is not to do anything but just “to BE with Him”. He needs our presence and not our works, our beings, not our doings. He knows already our over-burdened efforts and works, and our tired-weary souls. His invitation then is to slow down, have a good break and be with HIM, in His presence under His yoke (care and protection) since there is more to Him and us than just His and our works.
His being and presence we always got and have to live with our lives. As shown to us in our first reading, God’s glory is ultimately all about our eternal peace and joy being and in His presence, not as celebration of end-result/reward of our hard work and struggles in life. Paul also reminds us that we are more than just flesh but we are of God’s spirit and in God’s presence. We should have been, still is, could and always will Be with God’s spirit and presence in life. To be in His presence and spirit is His invitation us to be now and always.
So, what our new normal life can be?
Charles Eisenstein once said “we sense that normal isn’t coming back, that we are being born into a New Normal: a new kind of society, a new relationship to earth, and a new experience of being human”.
Thus, to be responsible participant of the birthing of the New Normal, like with the birth of a new child in the family, we need first to say goodbye and let go of the Normal lives we use to have, and then take on the NEW identity, attitude and commitment to BE BETTER human Being than doing, Presence than actions, Quality than quantity, Valuing than having, and above, In-Spirited than In-fleshed, thus Godly than manly Persons we can be. Lord, Thanks for all that has been, and Yes to all that will be. So Be it. Siya Nawa. Amen.
(By: Fr. Aphelie Mario Masangcay CSsR, a Filipino Redemptorist Missionary stationed in Gwangju South Korea, though now still stranded in Cebu until further notice for available flights.)