Date: Sunday, March 22, 2020
I know some will suggest that the coronavirus is God’s way of catching our attention or worse God’s way of punishing us. It really is a rather frightening way of imaging God disciplining humanity. It is not a novel perception of God. In the Gospel according to St. John, when Jesus and his disciples encounter a man blind since birth, the disciples ask whether he or his parents sinned (Jn 9:30). Jesus rejects this attitude. “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.” Jesus does not heal the blind man with just a spoken word. Jesus spits on the ground, makes clay with the saliva and smears the clay on his eyes. Jesus directs the blind man: “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam.” There is a certain protocol of steps and the blind man must cooperate in his own healing. We have a responsibility to do our part in lessening the spread of the coronavirus and taking care of ourselves and others.
At a time of a pandemic viral infection one may ask where do we see “the works of God”? It depends where we look. I see God’s glory made visible in the dedicated doctors and nurses risking their lives caring for the seriously ill. One of the first to die was a doctor/researcher in China who signaled alarm, caught and died from the disease. A group of intensive care nurses at Brigham and Women’s Hospital all wearing face masks stood together within a glass enclosure holding these words: “We stay at work for you. Please stay at home for us.”
The Gospel is both a story of an unnamed blind man coming to see physically and spiritually and others who are able physically to see but are blind to the deeper meaning and mystery of the person and mission of Jesus. The blind man comes to believe in Jesus and worships him as Son of Man. During this difficult and challenging time may we come to see God with us and experience healing and strength in Jesus Christ.