Tell it to SunStar: The Sto. Niño vs Covid-19: A challenge to our faith

THE issue of Covid-19 as played here in Cebu is an issue about faith, perhaps more than just about health. It is now going to be four months that we have been deprived of Holy Communion, the very center of our worship, our faith, without which religion is empty and barren. We somehow gave the impression that we did not consider the Eucharist that important, by giving in so easily and without a struggle against the protocols about gatherings. Our churches were closed, and we were told that TV Mass is OK, and we can receive Communion spiritually. Suppose we tell the hungry and starving just to watch people eating on TV and be fed virtually. Would they be satisfied with that?

It is the same with the Eucharist. Jesus did not say: "Look at this Bread and imagine you are eating it." No, he said: "Take and eat, and you will have life." Life includes being healed, being strong.

The Cebuanos have stories of how the Sto. Niño helped in times of trial, distress, whether in calamities or political unrest. But in those instances, the churches were open, and the people came to Communion. This time our churches are closed and therefore no Communion, and the virus is spreading. We may have reasons for that, but it is also possible to think that Covid-19 might be a convenient excuse to cancel the national celebration with Cebu City as the central point, of the 5th Centenary of the First Baptisms in 1521, nine months away. This time the Santo Nino is being "challenged," but without the Eucharist, the virus will win. The government can send soldiers and tanks, extend lockdowns, but the virus will continue, because those are not the only solution. The Sto. Niño made miracles through the Risen Lord in the Eucharist... The Eucharist is the Living Lord, the Healer.

Yes, we will allow only 50 percent to be accommodated in our churches for every Mass; we will disinfect the places; we will use Face Masks; receive Communion in the hand, and the other protocols, BUT DO NOT DEPRIVE US OF HOLY COMMUNION, while we pray for our whole country. Let the government take care of the economy, find jobs and solutions to poverty, improve health care and hospitals, BUT LET OUR PEOPLE RETURN TO CHURCH AND RECEIVE COMMUNION.

Let other Churches throughout the country be allowed to hold regular Masses, and let the police monitor the observance of the health protocols. We have tried many things to fight the virus, please let us try this also. We have nothing to lose, and much to gain.

We may not see the number of the infected lowered overnight, as our faith will also have to be tested with regard to its constancy, but the number will get less in two or three weeks. The government will claim the success, and that's fine, as the Lord would not mind, as long as the distancing protocol was not applied to his love for all of us, and we will be able to celebrate the 5th Centenary, albeit with some restrictions. MAY THE STO. NIÑO BE GLORIFIED IN HIS PRESENCE IN THE EUCHARIST. May the Lord give us peace.


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