Updated: June 16, 2021 10:57 AM GMT
Catholics offer eggs to people at a quarantine facility in Bac Ninh province. (Photo: giaophanbacninh.org)
Several things in life happen that we cannot understand and our immediate reactions to them are despair and rebellion. The new Covid-19 outbreak that is spreading in Vietnam is typical of such situations.
Before that, families were cheery and all people — from students to workers and officials — were rushed off their feet. Hustle and bustle were made by the whirl of securing a livelihood. People were in such an awful rush all day to make a living that they had only hurried meals and little sleep.
Students had to burn the midnight oil after school, farmers were worried about their crops and wishing for good weather and bumper harvests, owners of companies and businesses sought to take all chances to bear fruit, and workers did their level best to receive higher salaries to send back home.
However, the sudden surge of the contagion that has swept many places as an evil genius has completely reversed all day-to-day routines, alarmed and frightened everyone. The pandemic is raging on and infecting more and more victims, while people remind one another about the slogan “Loving the nation means to stay home.” They fear having physical contact with infected people or unintentionally transmitting Covid-19 to others. Quarantine periods are distressing for people who are outgoing and gregarious.
If the pandemic is a war in which people use biological weapons to murder one another, it is inhumane and terrible. The fiendish world that killed the son of God still exists. What should we do? The given answer is that a world of cold hearts may only be melted by the fire of the cross, the fire of abiding love that fascinates all people to a new heaven of life. As St. John said: “We love our brothers and sisters, and with this we know that we have passed from death to life.”
Thus, during the pandemic, although people have to maintain a safe distance from one another, they still get close in one another’s eyes. In the whirl of love, people help out one another, provide material and emotional needs to people in quarantine, and give basic commodities to jobless workers trapped in boarding houses. It is undeniably pleasant to see people text and call to ask for news of one another.
At first Covid-19 provoked public alarm, but in God’s hand we parish members still accept it as part of our history with God and accept our duties
In families, periods of social distancing become times of reunion — family members daily gather to have meals and recite rosaries. In parishes, people from children to the old remind one another to individually visit the Eucharist in churches. Jesus, the Son of God, sees all, listens to all and knows all situations of each person and wants to embrace them in his eternal love.
Catechists and students in groups pray the mysteries of the rosary, pray in front of the Eucharist every hour at churches, and attend online prayers at night. All parish members echo prayers and benedictions, appealing to God to end the coronavirus outbreak soon and to bring peace to the nation. They thank God for waking them up and teaching them where they should seek their own safety.
People commonly value the feeling of safety and when Covid-19 came, their livelihoods were threatened and their physical life seemed to lose all meaning. But now Catholics know how to seek God, share the Word and love their brothers and sisters. Through all events, many people are set to accept their responsibilities and make them part of their history, then they are able to go ahead despite inexplicable happenings. In doing so, it's not all doom and gloom and there is lots to look forward to.
At first Covid-19 provoked public alarm, but in God’s hand we parish members still accept it as part of our history with God and accept our duties. When we faced the pandemic, we told ourselves that in this case we should resign ourselves to the coronavirus outbreak. But when the Eucharist tells us “Don’t fear,” all of us make a firm and determined stand against the outbreak.
Now all people are ecstatic about having Jesus’ presence among us, a grace from God the Father, helping us to be in agreement on events in our lives, even when we understand them little. From now on, all events in life are no longer unchanged but hopeful and promising since our life will be regenerated miraculously if we courageously step up to the plate according to God’s Word.
It will not matter if all things seem to have worsened or become irreparable, but we believe that God can grow flowers on rocks. So, we only need to open our eyes to face the reality and accept private responsibilities for all events in life, acknowledge and welcome all people as they are, and express solidarity with them regardless of their background.
Truth is stranger than fiction. With the power of Divine Mercy, the whirling vortex of Covid-19 has to be reversed, we are brought into the heavens of faith and testify that God makes plants blossom on bare rocks. The mystery of life is that during the pandemic people are full of the joys of spring, the rousing cheers from disciples who know how to be eternally loved and tightly embraced by God, as “we have known the love of God and have believed in it.”
This article was summarized and translated by a UCA News reporter from a Vietnamese article published on giaophanbacninh.org here.