Proverbs 9:10 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
10 The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Certainly the coronavirus is something to be concerned about, but I refuse to operate in fear. I will be more cautious than usual, but this virus will not rule my life. It has become a great paradigm of who or what to believe. The most disgusting thing about this deadly virus is that it has been made into a political platform; to me these are a useless waste of words. I am sure somewhere in the world, some renowned scientists are feverishly working on an antidote, but we will never hear or see this on the news. Instead they fill our minds with fear. This fear has an agenda: to paralyze our thinking and the way we make decisions.
This is a scary word; it means we will all in some way or another be affected by coronavirus. WORD ORIGIN FOR PANDEMIC from Late Latin pandēmus, from Greek pandēmos, from pan- + demos the people. Perhaps God is allowing us to experience a modern-day plague; the way I see it, we all need to trust Him.
This Sunday at Mass, right before the homily, a letter was read from Bishop Vann. The letter informed us that Orange County issued a local health emergency. Until further notice we will not use communion cups with the consecrated wine, and the holding of hands during the Our Father Prayer and the peace offering “peace be with you” have been suspended as well. All Eucharistic ministers must sanitize their hands before and after giving communion. The letter also stated that if you are sick, you should stay home. These precautionary measures are not to be taken lightly; we all have to do our part to prevent this virus from spreading into our communities. We follow rules because they are made to protect us.
If we allow panic or fear into our spirits, we will be ruled by them. The coronavirus has people gripped in fear, and we will all suffer the consequences because fear will spread faster than the virus. People are giving trips abroad a second thought. Traveling on a cruise may be a wonderful experience, but it turned into a trip from hell for the passengers of the Diamond Princess. Of the 3,700 passengers, 135 were diagnosed with the coronavirus, of which 25 were
American. Tourism will suffer great losses because no one wants to risk their health for the benefit of leisure travel. We need not sit at home until this virus is under control. I will continue with my normal, everyday routine of attending daily Mass, picking up my grandkids from school, running normal errands and, more importantly, washing my hands and using hand sanitizers more than ever.
South Coast Plaza Panic
On January 25th there was one reported case of the coronavirus in Orange County. That patient was isolated in a hospital and has since fully recovered. The 50-year-old man had recently returned from Wuhan, China, the epicenter for the virus. It was falsely reported that this man had visited South Coast Plaza, the most upscale mall in Orange County. This misinformation was spread through social media. This is how panic and fear take the form of misconception. Out of fear, people stopped shopping. The executives of South Coast Plaza came up with an incentive to get people back into the mall: They announced that a gift certificate valued at $500 would be rewarded to any customer spending $2,500 (before tax). The stipulation was that the money had to be spent in one day in order to receive the gift certificate. This incentive was to lure customers back into the mall. The bait was successful; the lines to receive the gift certificate were so long that they wrapped around the concierge station and it was a long wait. But as soon as many of the customers got their gift cards, other lines formed at surrounding malls to return the merchandise that they had purchased. If the executives had waited a few days, all would have returned to normal, but they operated in fear and panic. The interesting fact about this incentive was that it was honored for more than two weeks.
Eucharistic Ministers are also referred to as EM’s. Three years ago I decided to become a EM. The first day I participated in my new-found ministry I was a wreck. I could not for the life of me figure out how to give communion on the tongue. I have hit someone’s tooth, touched a person’s tongue and dropped the communion wafer on the floor, of course this did not all happen in one day. As a novice it took time for me to get accustomed to my new position. There is this man who attends daily Mass who is over 6’5″, and I’m only 5’4″ (in shoes). I almost have to wind up for a pass to make it onto his tongue.
Whenever I have traveled abroad and attended Mass, communion is never in the hand, always on the tongue. Once I was attending a service in Notre Dame in Paris, and when I extended my hand to receive communion, a nun from the Missionaries of Charity slapped my hand and signaled for me to open my mouth. When I attended a Mass in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the priest announced in English that the only way you can take communion was on the tongue. Communion in the hand has been permitted in the USA since 1977. Today the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops made it clear that we may receive communion in the hand. As a EM we understand that it is up to the discretion of the individual how each one will receive communion. As an EM we are either holding the ciborium or the cup with consecrated wine. Many times when the EM’s have wine left over, we are instructed to drink it because it is the precious blood of Jesus.
How to Prepare
If you really want to prepare for a pandemic outbreak my advice to anyone is to get right with God. We trust Him because He has control over every circumstance in the world. We are just a speck of sand in His great universe. The Lord will never leave or forsake us because He loves us and wants us whole. Prepare yourself spiritually and then you will be given the wisdom on how to prepare mentally and physically through this trial.
Isaiah 54:10 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
10 Though the mountains fall away
and the hills be shaken,
My love shall never fall away from you
nor my covenant of peace be shaken,
says the Lord, who has mercy on you.
My husband makes a weekly Costco run, but yesterday he said he could not move in the store because of the crowds. Costco was out of water, toilet paper and anything that has to do with sanitizing. People are scared.
Dear Lord, we ask that Your holy presence be in our midst. Remove all fear from our minds and give us a peace that surpasses all understanding. Lord, You are the Great Physician and You already knew about this virus before it started to spread. Lord, we are asking that You spare us the pain of this devastating virus and bring healing to those affected. Lord, spread a blanket of protection around our world to stop this virus from spreading. We humbly ask for forgiveness of the sins of the world and petition on behalf of those who do not yet understand the power of Your love. Thank you, Lord, for unifying us with this virus because we all agree that it is a danger to us all. Amen.