“Jesus: Emmanuel. A name which means “God-is-with-us””
“Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will”
“Here I am! I am coming to obey your will.”
“Mary, Do not be afraid.”
The reality of living in lockdown hits home for New Zealander’s today and we accept this because we are willing to do everything we can in order to stop the spread of this terrible virus.
The implications are hard. In the last couple of days I have heard from:
- people who are anxious about how they will live in a small bubble with family for four weeks and possibly more.
- a young woman who arrived at hospital for urgent surgery today to find the receptionist apologising she had not been notified it had been postponed for a month.
- those who fear that the virus will reach their elderly and vulnerable family members.
- the many people whose jobs and livelihoods are at risk.
- those who have already lost their work being made redundant in recent days.
- people who already struggle to feed their families and now think this will be impossible.
- a well-respected business person who is responsible for the investments of many so they can invest in building better communities.
- very vulnerable people who fear the loneliness of these weeks.
- people who fear they will lose all their assets in now-vulnerable investments
- A woman who returned to Italy last month for life-saving surgery while her young family remained in Australia.
- those who suffer from tensions caused by those who are struggling to deal with their own virus fears.
Pope Francis commenting on today’s feast of the Annunciation says, “the Annunciation revolutionises history.” Francis is telling us that the entry of God into the world in Jesus has turned human existence about face, for the greatest good imaginable.
I’m not sure that we really get this. I reflected on this in a post last week with the reminder to love God before all else. It’s easy to give God no more than polite lip service, some time of prayer each day, community worship on Sundays and some extra prayers if the need is great. But Christianity can only be lived as a relationship of radical orientation to Jesus Christ lived 24/7.
There are four scripture passages in the Liturgy of the Word for today’s Annunciation feast. Above I have listed one phrase from each of the four. Take a moment now to read them again and to let these words of divine comfort and consolation enter and console your mind and heart: “God is with us. Here am I Lord, I come to do your will. Do not be afraid.”
We are not playing the power of positive thinking (ref. yesterday’s post) when we ponder these scriptures. Having honestly faced the reality, we are turning to the one God to hear our prayer and answer our need.
A friend yesterday messaged me expressing concern for many people, adding that he was sure that he would survive. and his concern was for others. Then he added – I might even thrive.
His comment got me thinking. If we take my chosen words from God from today’s four readings as fact, we do not have to simply settle for getting through these difficult days of lockdown. With Christ we can thrive.
- Become aware of the miracle you need Jesus to work for you today, so that you can not only survive but thrive through this crisis.