Today, when you read about the health and financial crisis due to the Coronavirus, remember that many real individuals are living with the consequences. Whether through illness or job loss or receiving a drastic reduction in your retirement benefits. Health and financial crisis means tough times for most and tragedy for others.
What is happening in Italy today could be happening in the United States tomorrow. COVID-19 is not overblown but a genuine crisis impacting our community, our country and our world. How should we as Christians and as the church respond? How can we demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ and be the light of the world?
It took me awhile to understand this refers to more than “who gets the best seats in church.” A subtle way to ignore the needs of the poor is to just avoid meaningful contact: “You can stand over there or else sit on the floor” can also mean, “You can live on the other side of town.” There is a word for ignoring the needs of the poor… Sin! How can we claim faith in Christ if we judge those in poverty?
When reading this story, you tend to think about money. If the story is only about money, the widow is the perfect giver. Not content to give God her leftovers, she gives it all. Giving generously is important. But Jesus is teaching a far deeper lesson. Jesus said: They have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she has given everything.
In other words, Lent is an opportunity to pause from the intensity of daily living and reflect on the meaning of Christ’s life, death and resurrection. Sounds simple enough but I often come up short. The following prayer by Robin Van Cleef describes the difficulties of attempting to deepen your spiritual life.
Within a few short hours, we had a cluster of houses with clean driveways. More importantly, neighbors started crossing over to visit and say thanks. Soon people were going back and forth giving away cookies, coffee, soup and whatever was needed. Others started coming outside to talk and play in the snow.
If worry is poison, faith is God’s antidote. The stronger our faith, the less we worry. How? We stop depending on ourselves and learn to seek God’s will. We spend more time on our knees in prayer. A friend once told me: “Larry, rather than worry all night, wouldn’t it be smarter to pray half the night and then sleep comfortably until morning?” Sound advice.