Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Today is another day dominated by a virus called Covid-19. This pandemic has created panic shopping, hoarding and a firsthand experience of a major disaster. Unlike other world catastrophes, which are observed through various media sources, this one is in our community. For some, it is something bad that will happen to another, not them, and they continue going close contact with people in parks, beaches and complain their favorite restaurant or bar is closed. Others, recognize the threat and try to abide by the health professional guidelines.
For all of us, at some point, we will know social isolation, which is one of the main tools to help prevent the spread this contagious virus. As I thought about social isolation, I was reminded of the familiar gospel story of Samaritan woman who meets Jesus at Jacob’s well. By Jesus meeting this woman by himself, he was breaking all cultural conventions.  It was not only a violation of moral conduct for a man to be with a woman alone, especially one known for her questionable behavior, the fact that she was a Samaritan made it doubly bad.
The lesson, of course, for us is that Jesus comes to everyone, saints, sinners and especially those who are not welcome, such as this woman who has been quarantined from the rest of the community for her multiple relationships. Through her conversation with Jesus, however, she is transformed from an outsider to an evangelist who enthusiastically proclaims to her community the good news she heard from Jesus, and many believed.
This pandemic has left us socially isolated. We are expected to keep two-meter distance when meeting people, we have been encouraged by our government leaders to go home, stay home until some future unspecified date. With places of public worship closed and religious services cancelled, we may feel cut off from an important spiritual element that connects us with others and with God. All of this leaves us thirsty for social contact and hungry for spiritual nourishment.
The good news is that Jesus comes to us. He meets us in our everyday activities; he wants to speak with us. As the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at Jacob’s Well, we too are able to meet the same Jesus through scripture, whether it is prayerfully reflecting on the gospels in our bible or biblical readings printed in our prayer books, such as Saint Joseph’s Sunday Missal, or by meditating on the mysteries of the rosary. Jesus is seeking a conversation with us.
And if we dialogue with Jesus as this Samaritan woman did, asking questions, sharing our concerns with Jesus and how much we need the love of God, then we too shall thank Jesus for giving us “those waters that we may never thirst”  and never feel need to feel the pain of social isolation. As Jesus said: “Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

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