A Time for Hope: COVID 19 and the Eucharist
Ernest Falardeau, SSS
What have we learned from COVID19 and the Eucharist? In the midst of crisis, we have learned that the virus brings death and despair, but the Eucharist brings hope and trust in God and in ourselves. The Eucharist is the sacrament of faith, hope and love. It is more than something. It is Jesus Christ, the Son of God who is with us, the human face of a loving God.
One could easily learn from the story of God’s people in the Old Covenant, that God is with us and for us. Unfortunately, the people of God continue to abandon God, but he never is unfaithful to his people. Prophets were sent to tell us the problem is not God. It is people. They fail to turn to God with humble prayer. They turn to idols or turn to sin which robs them of their inheritance as children of God. Jesus Christ told his disciples that unless they recognized God the Father with humility and tenderness of children, they will not enter the kingdom of God. His kingdom is in heaven and in our hearts. The Spirit will show us the way.
A Bit of History
In his editorial in the New York Times of July 19, 2020, Nicholas Kristof wrote about hope, as COVID 19 continued to rise in the world and especially in the United States. Citing a number of instances in modern times in which crisis became opportunity, he recalled the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Recession of 2007.The present pandemic of COVID 19 is creating a failing economy that increases the hardship, misery and despair of the poor and minorities. Yet people know they can join together to change and shape a new era and a new world. Hope, trust and courage will inspire leaders, and with God’s grace and the hard work of people who do what is right, things will change, for nothing is impossible for God.
Hope and the Eucharist
Hope is a synonym for trust, taking God at his word. Jesus is with us till the end of time. The Eucharist is the sign that Jesus Christ gives us “in his memory”. It is more than his presence. Jesus is our viaticum, food for our journey to heaven. Writing to his devotees, St. Peter Julian Eymard encouraged them to be joyful. “Let your love for the Lord be joyful” he wrote to Adele Julhien on June 14 1868, “rediscover the joy of the Springtime of life …you are the beloved of the Lord; discontinue your crying and rejoice in his divine goodness” (Counsels for Spiritual Life, p.224). Jesus does not come to us in the Eucharist to scold us, but to bring love and joy. “The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason to hope” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin).