Our already wearied world is more anxious, now with variants, as covid numbers resume its upward trajectory. Here, they are reluctant to impose another national lockdown, so we create our own bubbles, staying in and social distancing, imposing our own personal lockdowns. It is like getting into a room to wait it out. This week also happens to be the few days before Pentecost; the apostles then were also in a room … staying in, waiting.
What exactly are we waiting for? We hope that (ideally?) when we emerge from our waiting rooms that the virus will be conquered, and life continues along the same road. What forms this ‘hope’, a wish? As we wait, we must remind ourselves that we are an Easter people, and true hope is in the Resurrection. Come what may, life goes on. We are today’s apostles, disciples anointed not to be victims of the virus but as opportunists of it, where we recognise that this world today is fertile ground for us to plant the seeds of the Gospel.
“My dear people, since God has loved us so much, we too should love one another.” (Second Reading)
Where the words of scripture cannot gently coax us, the virus will beat us into submission. As we stay in and remain in our bubble, we will realise it more and more that no one is safe until everyone is. The only way out is to work together for the common good of all. Yet again, like an urgent coincidence that keep repeating itself, the message this week is again the call to love one another. As Pope Francis said, “A virus that does not recognize barriers, borders, or cultural or political distinctions must be faced with a love without barriers, borders or distinctions”.
“As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world”. (Today’s Gospel)
As the apostles of today, we are being prepared in our rooms to be sent into the new world ravaged by the virus. We will go out not with trumpets blare, but humbly like a colony of ants, each of us a tiny, seemingly insignificant worker ant, forming a long line, a procession where food is ferried for the common good of all. Only that we are tasked to ferry love. Here is a picture of the inter-connectedness that we humans must share, a sight of love in motion, love that is meant for the other. “God is love and anyone who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in him”.
“We can know that we are living in him and he is living in us because he lets us share his Spirit.” (Second Reading)
Staying in and waiting. In this wait, we begin to understand what it means to remain in God. It is to be a participant of Love, a recipient whose worker-ant duty is to pass it on. As we pass, life in God grows, and we grow, and we remain in God. It is the only place we can shelter from the virus. We recognise ourselves as Christian disciples ‘Staying in’ is not idle time but time to build courage to face what is before us. It is time to prepare and anticipate our Pentecost when we are sent to become the church outside in this time of desperate needs.
“The pandemic set before us a choice: either to continue on the road we have followed until now, or to set out on a new path.” (Pope Francis)
The new path has already opened. It is waiting for us to embark on it once we embrace the Spirit, pick courage up and leave our anxieties in our waiting rooms. This new path is for all of us to go out there to love one another “except for the one who chose to be lost” (Gospel). Staying in is staying in God’s love.
7th Sunday of Easter 2021