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From panic to peace

Some years ago, a Filipino SVD missionary working in Congo, Africa, wrote me: “Fr. Jerry, because of the Ebola virus outbreak, people here are panic-buying already. Me? I just panic na lang, because I have no money for buying.”

In today’s gospel (Jn. 4, 5-42), we hear about the encounter of the Samaritan woman with Jesus. At first, she panicked when she realized the power of a prophet who told her everything she has done. In the end, she experienced peace and conversion, and eventually, discipleship because she met the Messiah who told her who she was, and what she can become.

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May our encounter with COVID-19 teach us who we are, and what we can become. May our panic turn to peace, and may the virus remind us of our virtues.

Don’t panic. There is a solution. We pray for the scientists and researchers who are working to find the antidote to eradicate COVID-19 from the face of the earth soon, within the week, within the month, sooner than soon! We honor them, and all the doctors and their medical team, and those who are involved in caring and treating the sick. Let us keep believing that there is a solution, and that it will come soon.

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Don’t panic. Do the necessary precautions. This is the time to be vigilant, and to be responsible for each other. Let us pray for our government leaders and workers, and obey them. We need, and we affect each

other. There are no greater or lesser gods among us in this time of crisis.

Don’t panic. Let the present situation lead us to fruitful realizations. What is the Lord telling us as individuals, as a country, as a world community? Let us not leave the Lord out of the picture. He is speaking. Are we listening? Let us all look into our hearts, and rediscover and bring out all the goodness within.

Renowned broadcaster and friend, Ted Failon, reminds us that COVID-19 is a “life-changing virus” that is teaching us many lessons in life. For one, it has taught us all to slow down, and to realize the importance of home once again, and pray again. We have become so focused on our “wings” and have forgotten our roots. Let us stay rooted in God, in our faith, in our families, or simply, just stay home.

This is the time for stronger faith in God who turns our panic to peace. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46, 10). He is in complete control of everything and everyone. He fights for us. He makes the impossible, possible.

Let us become more humble to God, more kind to each other, and hold on to hope, and keep saying that this too shall pass.

Sharing with you this prayer for spiritual communion: “My Jesus, I believe that You are in the Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I long for You in my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually in my heart. As though You have already come, I embrace You and unite myself entirely to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.”

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Think about this: Every time you hoard for your future security, you are depriving someone of what he/she needs just to survive for another day.

Let us all adopt and say this simple and beautiful prayer composed by 6-year-old Chiara Adapon, from Castillejos, Zambales: “Hail, holy Queen, my heavenly Mother Queen, bless me, protect me, and heal my pain.” Amen!

Let me end by greeting you all: The Lord be with you, and may the virus NOT be with you!

A moment with the Lord: Lord, remove our fears, and turn our panic into peace. Amen.

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