Looking at COVID-19 from a religious perspective
This passage was the first thing that came to my mind upon hearing about the community pantries being established in different parts of the country: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.” (Acts 4:32)
Ordinary Filipinos found a way to help those who had lost their jobs by giving what they could to help others survive their day-to-day lives. And what better way than to imitate the first Christian communities who shared everything they had?
As seminarians, we are formed to view events from a bigger picture, and especially with God at the center. Reflecting on the community pantries and COVID-19, I believe God is teaching us something we really need right now.
God is teaching us that the pandemic is everybody’s concern, and amid this crisis, we have to continue loving our neighbor by sharing what we have. I feel so happy that we are starting to wake up from our individualistic tendencies; we now care for others and not just focus on our own security. I see this as a chance as well of reviving our Filipino spirit of bayanihan and pagtutulungan.
In the seminary, we have been praying three times a day since last year the prayer against COVID-19, and it has felt like nothing was happening. But actually, there is. In the prayer, there is a line that goes like this: “Grant us the grace in these trying times to work for the good of all and to help those in need.” Now, this is being actualized and realized through the community pantries and other initiatives.
God is also teaching us that we have to wake up from our false beliefs of what truly makes us happy. Money? Trips? Parties? COVID-19 stripped us of all our worldly desires. What matters now are friends, family, our brothers and sisters in dire need, and most especially our life. Our view of our lives becomes deeper and more meaningful if we just realize these things.
I know it is hard to understand and to view the COVID-19 pandemic from this kind of perspective—a positive and religious one. Remember all the deaths, pain, and darkness this virus has caused us. I believe we need to have faith and hope in Him in order to achieve this view of the world. To know that He is bigger than our current problem will bring about a lot of change.
I also have my share of difficulties in the seminary. I have missed summer and Christmas vacations, and I have been receiving messages asking for prayers because some of my relatives, friends, and people I know, have also contracted the virus. This leads me to my last point: In the end, we will always go back to Him, and in Him we will find our true peace in this world.
I hope and pray that after the pandemic, we will be able to maintain this perspective, and continue to trust in God’s plan for us.
JUSTINE LUIS C. ZAFRA
Zafra, Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.