The world has been rocked by a new variant of COVID-19. There is no shortage of worries and fears about what havoc Omicron may wreak on our life and society. We are sick of lockdowns and restrictions. We ask ourselves: will this ever end?
We can be paralyzed by fear, worry, frustration, and despair.
As Christians, we are people of hope! This is especially clear during the season of Advent. We prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus, the true hope of humanity.
At the same time, we are awoken to His presence among us here and now. Finally, we await His coming at the end of time, to fulfill all things! What greater source of hope than Jesus who comes to save us, to redeem the entire world?
So how can we get through COVID as Christians?
How can we share with others the hope that God gives us? Omicron may or may not be the end of COVID, but it is not the end of the world. No pandemic, no disaster, no tragedy will ever have the last word. Because the last word is a person, Jesus. Christ is not the omicron; He is the Omega!
So how can we set our sights beyond omicron and set our hearts on Jesus, "the Alpha and the Omega" (Revelation 22:13) – the beginning and the end of history, of our lives, and of all things? Here are three ways that can help us to survive COVID as Christians, passing through Omicron to the Omega.
1) BE IN TOUCH WITH GOD
: Our phones lose battery until we recharge them. How about our relationship with God? Hard times and difficult news zap our spiritual and emotional energy. What can we do to replenish it? How can we plug ourselves into God? We've got to let ourselves be in touch with the Good News that God brings us, not only inundated by the 24-hour news cycle. Are there times in our day when we can pause and be aware of how God is with us, working in our lives? Do we offer our day to Him? Do we entrust our worries and concerns to God? Do we speak to Him about the people and things that are important to us?
Do we let ourselves be inspired, praying with God's Word in the Bible? Do we do whatever we can to be connected to the Church and the sacraments, these beautiful wellsprings of God's life and goodness? May each one of us find ways of seeing things from God's eyes, with His heart, and let Him change our perspective for the better.
2) BUILD BRIDGES WITH OTHERS
: COVID is not the only virus terribly plaguing humanity. Mother Teresa said that loneliness is the leprosy of the West. This rings even more true in the midst of COVID. The tragedy of people dying alone. The silent suffering of people isolated in their homes. The heartache of people feeling lonely, from university students to elderly people. How can we ourselves be vaccines to this virus of loneliness?
Maybe it's by picking up the phone more often to call relatives, friends, and people who we know might be feeling alone. How can we build bridges where love can pass to warm our hearts and others? The barriers that keep COVID at bay need not keep us from supporting each other and being in solidarity with one another in whatever way we can, especially with those we love and those most in need.
3) PROTECT ONE ANOTHER WITHOUT FEAR
: Fear is a normal feeling, especially in difficult and uncertain situations. But we cannot see life through the lens of fear. Living in fear never solves our problems. Fear will not solve COVID. We must take effective measures to protect each other and ourselves. However, being careful does not require being afraid.
Being careful promotes the common good. Being afraid gradually alienates and isolates us from each other. Let us take stock of our feelings and see where they lead us. We ask for the grace to say no to fear and yes to what seeks the common good out of love.
May Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega, dispel the shadows of our hearts with the light of His coming so that our lives can radiate hope amidst the fears of our time. Jesus, set us on You, our Omega.