This is a difficult time. It is a time when we yearn to touch the hem of the cloak of Jesus and feel and know that healing is sure, that our physical and economic health are being restored.
It is a time when we need to hear, “Talitha, kum!” [“Little girl, I tell you to get up!”] for we are desperate to leave the tomb of hunger, poverty, and despair. We yearn to return to a land of hope, employment, and a promising future.
It is a time when our faith is being tested. We pray for the healing of our sick yet still so many have died. As the days pass, the food at the family table grows ever scarcer. Jobs have disappeared and there is no financial safety net to give us solace. The stress of empty pockets gives rise to shame and hopelessness, and violence rears its ugly head in our homes and on our streets.
We are begging for relief but little or none comes our way. Perhaps most worrying of all is the knowledge that our children’s futures hang in the balance. Our nation’s youngest, most impressionable, and most vulnerable citizens have had to survive in a virtual learning world where they have been deprived of actual human companionship and visible and tangible care, albeit for their own safety.
Yet, this is not a time to give in to the gloom that threatens us. It is a time for wise and determined leadership on a national level and in our homes and communities. It is a time to stop playing the senseless and unproductive blame game and start looking at ways that we, as a people, can bring our innovativeness and resourcefulness to the fore.
It is a time when political allegiances must be transformed into forces for the benefit of all citizens and a mindset of patriotism dominates our psyche. It is a time when our best minds and purest hearts must take precedence over pettiness, selfishness, and destructive divisions in the society.
The responsibility for our well-being cannot be left to others—to the political leaders, the business class, even to the Church. We must all own that responsibility.
Our first duty is to safeguard ourselves and those around us by following the prescribed health protocols. Equally important is the necessity to become vaccinated against a virus that knows no boundaries and is merciless in its attack. Pope Francis emphasises that it is our ethical duty to seek vaccination.
It is tragic that falsehoods about the vaccines have so prejudiced some even normally sensible people that they prefer to chance their lives rather than to allow scientifically proven safeguards to help them to fight this invisible but deadly enemy.
In times of need or danger, a society that combines its strengths and shares its resources, attending to the needs of the weakest and most disadvantaged members, finds that it can overcome challenges more readily than if it were fragmented. Sacrifices must be made and this begins at the level of the leadership. A people that sees that its leaders are willing to sacrifice some of their own comforts and entitlements will more readily enter into a spirit of patient, hopeful and courageous collaboration rather than their adopting a disgruntled and resentful attitude.
Our faith must not be shaken by these trying times. We have the opportunity, now more than ever, to act upon that faith by combining it with good works for the benefit of all, including ourselves.