Fragile / By Fr Jerry Orbos SVD

MOMENTS on the 1st Sunday of Lent March 1 2020

Someone made an interesting observation on how things have changed with the outbreak of COVID-19. For example, for some people now, it is more impolite to cough than to fart.

In today’s Gospel (Mt. 4, 1-11), we hear about how Jesus was tempted by the devil with fleeting worldly things, and how he countered them with unchanging and constant values of the Kingdom of God. Think of any temptation or weakness you encounter now. These are all the lure of passing, fleeting, vain, and even useless pleasures that if bitten, will leave us with a lot of regrets later on.

The Gospel on this First Sunday of Lent reminds us to make a choice: to follow the ways of this passing and changing world, or to follow Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In other words, to choose sin, or to choose righteousness, to choose ourselves or to choose God, to choose now or eternal life.

The evil one is known as the master of deceit and half-truths, and he makes his move in very subtle ways, and strikes us in our most unguarded and fragile moments. Our shield and protection from temptations is just to pray, and flee. The best prayer when temptations come knocking is “Come, Holy Spirit, I need you. Amen.”

With our money, and present-day advances in science and technology, we are tempted to believe that we can control everything and everyone. The outbreak of COVID-19 reminds us that we are fragile, and that there are many things that are beyond our control and comprehension. We must not be proud. We need others. We need God.

When calamities come upon us, we realize how little we are, and how fragile the human condition we are in. In moments like these, let us not panic and lose hope. Let us not become selfish, and just accept the survival of the fittest. Let us reach out to each other as brothers and sisters on this earth, and reach out to God, our loving Father.

Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46,10). January and February went fast, and now it’s March. A lot of things have happened in just two months. Amidst the many changes and uncertainties of our fragile world, let us hold on to our God, and not give in to the temptation of hopelessness and pride.

Crisis brings out the best and the worst in us. The temptation is to become selfish and insecure when we face the unknown, and the uncertain. On the other hand, when faced with difficult situations, we can choose to be strong, hopeful, and helpful through it all.

As I was distributing the ashes last Ash Wednesday, my thoughts were not so much on the fear of COVID-19 spreading, as on the challenge and the mission of every Christian to spread God’s message of hope and love, especially in these difficult and uncertain times.

We are the world, we are the children. We are the ones who’ll make a better day so let’s start giving.” Instead of giving in to the temptation of going to each his/her own, now, more than ever, we must reach out to each other as brothers and sisters in this one world where we all live in.

“Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you; all things are passing; God never changes; patience obtains all things; he who has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.” (Saint Teresa of Avila)

A moment with the Lord

Lord, in our fragility, we reach out to You in humility. Amen.

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