A Gospel according to Luke 12:332-34
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not be afraid any longer, little flock,
for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.
Sell your belongings and give alms.
Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out,
an inexhaustible treasure in heaven
that no thief can reach nor moth destroy.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be."
REFLECTION: "Do not be afraid any longer, little flock."
Today is the optional Memorial of St. Francis of Paola, an Italian monk that lived as a hermit in the 15th century. St. Francis of Paola retired into solitude after a pilgrimage to Rome. He established an austere and severe rule, and eventually his calling was to serve in the court of France and advise the king and royal families. He lived in contemplation in an overactive world.
Today we also celebrate the Dies Natalis of St. Pope John Paul II into Heaven.
St. Pope John Paul II, from the beginning of his papacy in 1978, kept telling us, "Do not be afraid". In 1978 the world was near collapse under the threat of communism and thermonuclear warfare.
Today we live another scary reality. We don't know who has Covid-19; who is shedding the virus; who of the sick will have severe symptoms; who will eventually die of this disease.
And I keep thinking on his words: "Do not be afraid". How many times is this phrase found in the Bible? Look it up.
We are faced with a reality where death could be more likely than in other circumstances.
By now most of us have been exposed to this virus, thus, we either get sick of Covid-19, or we don't. Maybe there is a cure, or there is not. If there is a cure, would I have the money to pay for it? If there is no cure, am I ready to meet the Lord?
I know these are hard questions. During this isolation period God is giving us a chance, and time, to meditate upon what we have done, or failed to do. And prepare ourselves to meet him: today, next week, 30 years from now. The isolation period is allowing us not to wait for the very last minute to be ready because then it will be too late. We might not get a chance.
With given precautions to avoid infection, stop the spread of the disease, and prayers for science to find a cure, we will overcome this pandemic. And one day we will be where our treasure and our heart is.
In the meantime, let me close with these words from St. John Paul II:
Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. Help the Pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and with Christ's power to serve the human person and the whole of mankind. Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows "what is in man". He alone knows it. So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this earth. He is assailed by doubt, a doubt which turns into despair. We ask you therefore, we beg you with humility and trust, let Christ speak to man. He alone has words of life, yes, of eternal life. St. John Paul II from his Inaugural Address