We enter our third week of nearly complete separation from other people because of the Coronavirus. This is an unprecedented moment in our nation’s history as nearly all social and most commercial intercourse is curtailed. Our government calls for social distancing – no church, no school, no spectator sports or entertainment, no gatherings greater than ten. In public and commercial settings we are to separate ourselves by six feet. We have March Madness but without basketball.
While the virus separates us from one another and the rest of the world, it does not separate us from God. Jesus’ final words to the disciples were, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt. 28:20)
Before his arrest, he told the disciples, “On that day [his resurrection] you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.” Later he says, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”
Jesus promises to dwell in us if we love him and keep his word. We may be temporarily denied his presence in the Eucharist, but not his presence in us through the Holy Spirit.
In the Book of Revelation, Jesus reasserts this promise. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)
As we open the door of our hearts to Jesus, he promises to enter and take up residence. There are no qualifications or limitations to this statement. Wherever we are, whatever the circumstances, Jesus is available to us. What a promise! We can have a conversation with him just as we have a conversation with a loved one, a friend or colleague.
For many years I have been meeting with Jesus every morning for coffee. I read his word, share with him my concerns, ask for his help for various needs on behalf of my family, friends, and myself, and seek his guidance on various choices I face on daily basis.
Our family misses coming together with others for mass on Sundays and with other Christian friends on other occasions, but we are not separated from God’s presence in the midst of this present worldwide medical and economic crisis.
We cannot yet imagine how God will use and work during this time. As Paul says, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
How are you using this extraordinary time of restricted activity? Are you taking advantage of God’s presence? Are you taking time to open the door of your heart to him?