THERE was a time when the Church controls the state affairs. This was the time when the pope has extensive influence over state leaders. Since their separation, the state took charge of handling all matters of governance towards the citizenry. It does not mean however that the Church was only left with nothing but dealing with the divine, unseen, unknown, spirit, soul, and non-corporeal entities. The Church concerns about morality in the religious sense and love of humanity. That is why in the midst of this pandemic, the Church is one with the state in helping the needy and one in combating the devilry of this virus.
The Church understands that this virus is shaking the mental balance and faith of the people especially the poor. With the rise of those affected and the dead, numerous people are losing their faith and hope. The government (state) is doing what it can to help the people but we know help cannot reach everyone. And those who are denied help are finding surviving getting more and more difficult as days go by. When these people lose faith, they go to the street and protest. Others would resort to doing crimes just to survive. They might even end their lives if all seem to fail. The Church encourages everyone to be strong, to pray to gain this necessary strength to handle the challenges of Covid-19. Without hope and faith, chaos will rule. We stay in our houses because we have faith in the government. We pray because we have faith that this will soon be over.
The Church refers to the faithful, to the people who believe and professed this belief in God. So we are the Church. The people are the Church. It is not only represented by religious people (nuns and priests) but by the entire Christendom. How is the church coping with this crisis? It is coping by living and putting this faith into action. St. Paul said that faith without action is dead.
In this pandemic, the Church is working side by side with the government in keeping people safe, sound and hopeful. The Church is offering some of its churches as quarantine zones. The Pope has allotted a time to pray the Holy Rosary for intercession. We can see nuns and priests handing out relief goods to the needy. Because of this what Christ commanded His followers. Visit the prisoners, clothe the naked, help the needy, etc.. The Church is helping out the health workers to do their work for the love of God and neighbors. The Church gives the scientist faith to come up with a vaccine and a cure.
In Italy, less than a hundred priests have succumbed to the virus. Their constant exposure to the dead made them vulnerable to the disease but like the health workers, they cannot refuse to do this job because this is their calling. This is their vocation. This Holy Week, priests are going around their parishioners to remind them of the love and mercy of God realized in the different religious activities. Online masses are also held so that the faithful continue to celebrate the Holy Eucharist.
It is also through faith and love of others that many people during this crisis are helping others. What drives a person to help? If it not through the innate goodness of a person which religion dictates, it is through the commandment of God to help others.
We have a pandemic now which halts almost all religious activities except our devotions manifested in our prayers. This crisis is unfortunate since we are commemorating the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ.
That is why we call this week “Holy Week.” Last Sunday is known as the “Palm Sunday” in the Catholic calendar. It marks the entry of Jesus to Jerusalem, the city of Israel, where He will be soon be condemned to death but rises after three days. And this coming Sunday, we celebrate the greatest feast of the Catholic faithful, even greater than Christmas, the resurrection of Jesus. His resurrection is a victory that He conquered death and evil. This event was the final proof that Christ is indeed God. This resurrection is proof that we can also conquer this virus.
The churches may be empty for now but it does not mean that it is not at work. The members of the Church are in the frontlines helping the sick just like what God had done before. They are in their homes praying for the safety of all.