The Official Newsletter of the Archdiocese of Cebu, Philippines

SEPARATE TO APPRECIATE

A priest is celebrating the Holy Mass without a congregation – one of the many changes in the lives of the faithful due to COVID-19 pandemic. Photo from internet.

          It is a common trait for humans to realize the value of something, or someone, when such is not anymore there. We tend to take for granted what we have or who we have in our lives and when they’re gone, we wallow in regret for things that we wish we had done or said before it became too late.

            The current pandemic not only made us miss the many things and people that we got restrained from doing and seeing… it also made us realize that everything we prioritized can be set aside. The moments we sacrificed could have found a slot in our busy schedule had we made the time and effort. The rest that our bodies often needed would not have hurt our outdoor routines, the bonding times with our loved ones that we sacrificed for a work deadline would not have meant wasted hours, and conversations with the Lord in the church or in private would have made it to our list of top priorities. Except for those who have been living their lives the ideal way, it is beyond doubt that we can hear more people saying the “I wish” statements compared to the “I miss”. True, the Covid-19 have taken so many lives and brought about horrendous sacrifice, but for the reflective people, I believe that they noticed more the lessons realized than the running out of rice.

            One significant point of reflection – the things that God is giving us freely. In a homily of one mass I attended via livestream, a COVID-19 survivor cried out upon learning of his bill which was made costly because of the ventilator attached to him in order for him to breathe. He did not cry because of the bill, he cried because of the realization that for all of his life that he had been made alive by the air that he freely breathed in, he had not thanked God for it. Another patient in his deathbed had a last wish of seeing his family whom he had not seen for a while due to constant business travels and late-night overtime work that hindered him from communicating at least given the present technology as his family were usually asleep already when he knocked off from work. He got infected with the covid-19 which prohibits even family members to visit him, and as a dying person’s wish, he was made to video call with them and got surprised to see his youngest child much taller than everyone else in their family. And what about attending the Holy Mass in the church, taking communion and making confession? I am one with the many who now realize the far difference between availing of the sacraments personally compared to digitally. The home-based worship has its advantages, yes, which I will touch on in my next reflections, but sacramentally, nothing beats actual presence. The priests themselves may be preparing for and celebrating masses in the same manner, but having no people around spells a world of difference.

            Our list can go on about the things that we all respectively miss in effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. The question is, when by God’s mercy and grace we can go back to how we used to be, would we perhaps be different? When this is all over, would we be missing the same things? We are all excited to go back to “normal” which means taking us away from the things that we now have grown used to like seeing our loved ones in our homes most (if not all) of our waking moments, managing our time between office (at home) and household work, etc.… will we be the same again, perhaps?

            This current pandemic has set a trend. So many things we have not done, there’s room to bend. We can just hope that we already now know what matters most in the end. One day when we look back on this circumstance that made us separate to appreciate, may we still have our loved ones beside us as each passing day we wait, with our minds filled with God, with our hearts full of faith. /AFO

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