by: Br. Eddienel Villa, SSS
It seems that the world is enveloped with darkness because of the pandemic called COVID-19. We can see in the news the increasing number of cases which grows exponentially every day. We hear of stories of deaths including those we call frontliners, those in the medical field, in our battle against COVID-19. Government leaders have acted to protect their respective citizens and formulated plans on how to prevent the spread of the virus. Nations shut their doors against nations, state of emergency is declared; lockdown and enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) among cities, towns, and provinces are observed.
Businesses are temporarily stopped. The poor Filipinos who rely on their daily wage to provide for the basic necessities of the family suffer greatly. Regulations of lockdown and ECQ prevented them to report to their duties. Their daily wage is needed for their family to barely survive.
Churches are closed. We are prevented to gather physically as a Church to partake the body of Christ in the Eucharist. Inasmuch as we are eager to receive God’s grace through the Sacraments in the Church, we are not able to do because of the threat of the pandemic. The Church has just celebrated Easter. But some start asking, “Did Jesus really resurrect? Why does God seems so absent? Where is he in the midst of our battle against Covid-19?”
We remember during the Easter Vigil, at the beginning of the celebration, there is darkness, we bless the fire, we light the Paschal Candle that symbolizes Jesus that gives light in the darkness. Holding our candles, this light is distributed to us in our procession inside the Church, and we hear the Exsultet, our Lord has truly risen. In the darkness of the night, we see the flickering light from the Paschal Candle, and the whole Church is illuminated by our lighted candles in our hands. It is indeed, the Lord has risen and he is truly alive giving light in the darkness.
He is alive and present in our frontliners, those who take the risk in performing their duties in the hospitals, supermarkets, and in the government agencies. He is alive in the hearts of men and moves each one to help the people in need. He is alive in every home, he is acting and moving each member of the family to pray together and to spend quality time together, sharing the love of a family. He is alive as we hear his Word in every livestreaming in the social media. He is alive and present in every tabernacle and in every exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in parishes and religious houses. He never ceases to be present in every Eucharist that is celebrated daily. Though we cannot celebrate together physically, he is present to those who desire to receive him in Holy Communion.
No amount of darkness—ECQ, lockdown, or pandemic—can prevent us to experience the light of Christ. This experience makes our hearts burn with passion to find ways how to share this light with our neighbors. Amidst this pandemic, we believe that our Lord is truly alive, he has truly risen, he is the Emmanuel, the God-with-us, he is with us in this battle, and he never ceases to give light in our darkness.