Is God Sleeping?
A Reflection on the Gospel of St. Matthew 8, 23 -27:
Jun 30, 2020 Gospel of the day.
By: Fr. Ernesto Amigleo CICM
When Jesus and the apostles were crossing the Sea of Galilee, suddenly a violent storm rocked their boat, tossing them up and down, to the great fear of the apostles, while Jesus was soundly sleeping. Afraid, the apostles woke him up, saying “Lord, save us. We are perishing!” Jesus woke up and scolded them for their lack of faith and then calmed the storm. Immediately there was calm.
Today, all of humankind, like the apostles, is shaken up by the storm of COVID-19, a very dangerous plaque that can kill people. According to the report, there are already 10 million people across the world who are affected by the virus and about 500,000 people all over the world have died. In Indonesia, reports say that the number of cases has spiked. In South Sulawesi, it is reported that the number of cases is increasing, and in Makassar city, after 4 months, it is categorized still as a “red zone.”
In order to fight the virus and minimize its spread, medical doctors and experts including the World Health Organization and the CDC have come out with medical guidelines and safety measures like often washing of hands, using face masks, keep social distance and stay home or lockdown. For me, they are God sent, a sign that God is concerned and loves humankind, However, many, many people across the world downplay the seriousness of this virus. Some say it is “fake news,” others say it is “just a mild flu.” Still, others believe that “just have faith in God, and He will save us.” Meanwhile, they disregard the safety measures as if everything is normal. Then they wonder how come the number of cases continue to spike and the number of deaths continues to surge. Then, they blame God for everything that is happening. “God where are you? Are you not involved in the struggle of humanity? Don’t you care? Are you sleeping?
God is not sleeping. He is very much involved and He cares for us because He loves us. That is why he sent His “messengers” – medical experts and scientists, doctors and nurses, including the World Health Organization to issue guidance and safety measures to fight COVID 19 and minimize the spread of the virus. But many people across the world just ignore them. It is not right to blame God. Instead, we should rather blame ourselves.
Yesus is going to save us if we wash our hands often. Jesus is going to save us if we put on a face mask. Yesus is going to save us if we observe social distancing and lockdown. In the Old Testament God gave the Ten Commandments through Moses. It was meant as a guideline or road map to be saved. But the people of Israel disregarded this Guideline and continued to worship idols instead of the one and only true God. In the New Testament, Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments into two: “Love God with all your soul, with all your heart, and with all your strength. And love your neighbor as you love yourself.” When we follow His commandments, in this case, the guidelines or safety measures that His “messengers” – i.e. the medical experts, scientists, doctors, and nurses, have outlined to us, we show that we honor and respect God. And that we love Him. When we love our neighbor, in this case, following the above-mentioned safety measures, we show to our neighbor that we care for them and we are concerned not only for our own health but also for their health. This is genuine love for our neighbor.
And so, let us pray: O God, You are truly good and You give us guidelines on how to fight COVID 19 and prevent the spread of the virus through the experts you sent to us. But we are stubborn of heart and disobey the directives. Help us and give us a listening and obedient heart so that many people will recover and be saved. Amen.
About the Author:
Fr. Ernesto Amigleo, CICM is a Filipino CICM Missionary in Indonesia since 1974.