9 thoughts on “Pope Francis’ address on COVID-19 and Jesus calming the storm

  1. Pope Francis has truly shone his paternal side throughout this time of the Covid-19 pandemic. I was watching the livestream of the Extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing and Adoration that day and it was moving – it was probably one of the most memorable events of Pope Francis’ pontificate. While the Liturgy of the Word and Eucharistic Adoration were beautiful and moving, I would say the Holy Father’s meditation really spoke to our times and even prophesied what was to come in the coming weeks. I have read this meditation again now for about the fifth or sixth time now. I even wrote an extensive commentary to the mediation and the whole para-liturgy as a whole on my blog. Now re-reading it about three months later, I was really struck by the quote, “Just like those disciples, who spoke anxiously with one voice, saying “We are perishing” (v. 38), so we too have realized that we cannot go on thinking of ourselves, but only together can we do this.”

    “We cannot go on thinking of ourselves.” I have heard it many times, and maybe you too, that the sin of pride is the root of all sins. Sometimes, pride blinds us from seeing the needs of our brothers and sisters and sometimes, our own needs. When we are instilled with pride, we have the feeling as if we were our own god, a superhero and that we do not need anyone’s assistance. However, that type of mentality is what leads one to thinking that the world revolves around them. “Everything needs to go my way!”

    Yet, as this time of pandemic may have shown the effects of being selfish. Selfishness leads other people to harm and suffering of others. “Love God, love thy neighbour.” That fundamental truth has been spoken of very much throughout these days. Stay home and observe physical distancing, practice proper hygiene and cleaning practices – those are all efforts necessary to stop the spread of Covid-19. Some people seem to get the message, but unfortunately, not everyone.
    The only way a pandemic will stop is if people do their part and work towards the common good for others. When we continue to let pride feed on us, good things will not happen.

    Something I have seen widespread in recent weeks is the metaphor, “the pandemic of racism”. Again, people must do their part in ending this “pandemic”. “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you,” (Mt 7:12) – the Golden Rule – practice it.

    “We cannot go on thinking of ourselves.” While Pope Francis said this in the context of this Covid-19 pandemic, these words are prophetic. These words are needed more now than ever because of how selfish people are. We want to end Covid-19 all throughout the world. We want to end racism and the terrible prejudices in society. Yet, all of that will not come to an end unless we work “together” and “only together”. When each person takes his own path and there is a disunity in society, society can go no where. Per Pope Francis’ call, let us all join hands and resolve to do and promote goodness together.

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    1. Vincent,

      Great reflection! I absolutely love how you were able to pull out the theme of pride as a sin especially in these dire times as a way of showcasing the need for compassionate understanding in current days. I totally agree that this pandemic will only stop if everyone begins to act faithfully towards achieving the common good and that can only be accomplished by adhering to governmental health official guidelines and putting our pride and selfishness aside. I feel like we definitely saw one of the worst sides of humanity when the whole phase of “panic buying” was occurring and the weak, vulnerable, and elderly of society were left to fend for themselves. For me it was shocking to see how easily and rapidly as a mass-consumption society we were able to empty out shelves and fight over excessively buying products in a time that actually required compassion and neighbourly bonds. However, I am glad we are moving away from this and now through social media and my own lived experiences I can see more kindness and companionship as we all navigate this storm of a pandemic. Well done!

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  2. In Pope Francis’ address on the pandemic and its impact on society today, he emphasizes the fact that we as Christians are called to be even more trusting and faithful in such uncertain times.
    Pope Francis begins his address by discussing the Gospel in which Jesus calms the storm. The disciples are fearful and begin to doubt the love of the Lord, and are blindsided by the dangers of the sea so much so that they forget the greatness of Christ.
    I find this comparison especially striking in terms of how similar this pandemic has been for many of us. Stories and articles are being passed around that this is the “end of the world”, and that God has “forsaken” His people. It’s only natural that in such times, we as humans begin to fear for our safety.
    However, Pope Francis recognizes this human error which we all possess, and challenges us to grow even stronger in our faith. He reminds us that Jesus never left the disciples to perish on the boat, but that he was ever-present and watchful of them.
    Similarly, COVID-19, though it is terrifying and deadly, cannot be our reason for turning away from our faith. Instead, we should be more actively prayerful and hopeful, and should seek God’s guidance in every aspect of our lives. Regardless of our human weakness, Pope Francis’ message is to persevere and remain resilient, for God knows our worries and will never forsake us.

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  3. Pope Francis’ address about the current COVID-19 pandemic provides an interesting and unique perspective on how to proceed in these uncertain times. Since the self-isolation/ quarantine started, many people are dealing with extremely high levels of anxiety and depression fueled by the uncertainty of the future. I found it very interesting that the Pope referred to the current pandemic as both a time of uncertainty AND a time of choosing. I think many people right now feel like they have no choice or feel like they are just a victim of the times. However, reappraising those anxious thoughts into “what can I choose to do now” might be an extremely helpful coping technique. Choosing God is often difficult these days because of all the distractions we are constantly fighting against. Everyone is choosing a career or family or friends but truly nothing brings more peace to someone when they choose to rely on God. This was the most potent message in this address for me. You don’t have to choose the an object or an organization but when you choose God, you find those precious moments of peace.

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    1. “I found it very interesting that the Pope referred to the current pandemic as both a time of uncertainty AND a time of choosing.” Adira, thank you for your insights on Pope Francis’ meditation – for me I did not think to see the Pope’s mediation in that way before. These are certainly times of uncertainty as we do not know what tomorrow brings. I still continue asking myself, “When will all of this social distancing measures end? When will masks no longer be mandatory in Toronto?” Everything is just so rigid, and more caution is required… it is just stressful in a sense. I had plans for the summer this year, rather extensive plans I would say but now those plans are postponed or down the drain. There are some more practical worries such as, “Will I contract the virus on my way to and from work? Will my parents contract it? Will there be an outbreak some where near my home?” Again, that uncertain tomorrow.
      However, those concerns may be selfish – they are all focused on me. Rather than finding pity on myself, Adira, you are right – the Holy Father points out that this is a time of choosing. I can choose and moan and groan about this pandemic, or I can choose to disobey the social distancing guidelines. However, I follow them, and we should follow them out of a spirit of charity for our neighbour. We should be thinking about the collective rather on the individual especially during these times.

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    2. Hi Adira,
      This is such a great point! It reminds me of a quote by psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frankl:

      “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” (From ‘Man’s search for Meaning)

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  4. Pope Francis rightly brings up the deep pain of rejection and neglect when he says ‘ “Do you not care about me?” is a phrase that wounds and unleashes storms in our hearts.’ For me, this raises the following questions for me: what is the discursive effect of how the pandemic is being handled? That is, is the pandemic revealing who our societies consider seen and valuable? If so, what is the emotional/psychological effect of this on people or groups who do not feel included? How important is this emotional/psychological pain in relation to material struggles like unemployment and housing? The millions of children around the world who overnight lost almost all access to friendships when schools closed come to mind.
    When Francis says that this ‘is a time to get our lives back on track’ and to ‘make room’ for the Spirit I am reminded of the ways crises have been catalysts for positive changes in society throughout history. In fact, the idea of a ‘crisis experience’ that leads to inner spiritual transformation has historically been an important part of some Methodist and Pentecostal theologies. I dislike the phrase ‘new normal’ because, for me, it implies we must just settle into the pain of the crisis. Are their other phrases we can use to encourage adaptation but also positive transformation? Tearfund’s ‘renew our world’ campaign seems like a better motto to live by in these times (website: https://renewourworld.net/ ).
    On the other hand, I think it is important to recognise that as the months have gone on, the pandemic is no longer creating space in our lives, but diminishing it. I, and many others, feel busier and more exhausted that before the pandemic. Everything going online has made it even harder to escape the feeling that we must be available or ‘on call’ for work and socialising 24/7.

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  5. Pope Francis’ address on coronavirus and Jesus calming the storm was a very comforting and re-affirming sermon to read. His address reminded me of my own “Pope’s” addresses (I follow a Caliph who delivers weekly Friday sermons) on COVID-19 and the solace I found in the advices and affirmations given. Pope Francis provides an insightful outlook on the pandemic and reminds his followers of the teachings of Jesus and the Bible to be their source of guidance in behaviour today. The Pope stresses that although we are in turbulent waters, our anchor is our faith and trust in God. I could not agree more. In the beginning of the sermon, the Pope quotes “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” and this automatically reminds me of a saying in my own faith of “Is Allah not sufficient for His servant?” This notorious phrase comes from a time when one of the Prophets in my faith received a revelation from God that his father was about to pass away, he began to despair and was very anxious about what he would do without his father and how life would continue. Upon seeing his distress and anxiousness he received another revelation from Allah which was “Is Allah not sufficient for His servant?” Our Prophet’s worries instantly vanished as he was reminded he had the utmost provider and dependable friend on his side – his Lord. This phrase in my sect of Islam is often used today to re-affirm how our trust should be in our God because He is the best provider, and the One who can ease our worries just on the premise of trust in Him. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Pope’s relation to today’s events as an opportunity to strengthen trust and faith in God and how he demonstrated this through Biblical support and examples from the life of Jesus.

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