Reading: I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
(This prayer was published on 20/03/2020, at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Three years have passed since then. The World Health Organization (WHO) hopes that the pandemic could come to an end in 2023. How have the past three years affected you and what has changed?)
Reflection: The events caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have forced humanity to face a barrage of questions that need answers in the past two years. State authorities are questioning what is the best way to reorganize society to prevent the spread of the virus. Medical professionals are wondering how to provide the best assistance to those infected and those under suspicion with limited resources. Fear of an economic crisis affects both employers and employees equally as they think about an uncertain future. In the light of the ban on public gatherings, churches and religious communities face a historic challenge in finding a way to preserve fundamental values, such as community, which make them who they are (the church, Greek Ekklesia, means a gathering, assembly, choir). At the level of family life, we all face a large number of questions that are difficult to answer coherently. To move or not to move? To travel or not? To return where we came from or not? To stockpile or not? To get closer to each other or not? To go for coffee with friends or not? It seems to me that I have not been in a situation where I have thought or said so many times, “I don’t know.” Something I learned a long time ago comforts me – it’s okay not to know.
After thinking about the Lord’s Prayer in the past few days, we will now use the Apostles’ Creed. This short text contains the final edition of the earliest universally accepted statement of Christian faith. The Christian Church has stood on each of these statements through the ages, as a witness (by proclaiming and defending the faith) and a good testimony (by engaging and advocating in the community) for the One who established it by His call. Just as the Church has charted its course through history to this day on this creed, it must continue to do so until Christ comes again.
How powerful and comforting it is that the Apostles’ Creed begins with the word “I believe…” In a time when there is so much pressure on us to know, when fear and uncertainty produce a need to be in control, this word is liberating. It reminds us that the most important thing, our faith, our relationship with God the Father, is not the result of our search and knowledge, but of His revelation. He revealed Himself to us, and we believe in Him.
There are so many things we cannot know, but we can be sure that the one who loved us while we were still His enemies (Romans 5,6), and who called us to be His children, is in complete control. Let us trust Him even in these difficult days. The faith that has sustained the Church for centuries is our faith too. Knowing this and surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, let us fix our eyes on the Author and Perfecter of our faith so that we do not grow weary. And let us run the race in which we will be both witnesses and a testimony to the one who loved us so much that he, disregarding the shame, endured the cross and now sits at the right hand of God’s throne. (Hebrews 12,1-3).
Prayer: Lord, thank you for opening my eyes to see you in your perfect revelation in the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Give me wisdom in these difficult days and free me from all fear. Help me to be bold and to be your salt and light to all those around me. Amen.