By Jourdan Reynolds
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
During this time of global pandemic and more recently the riots and protests related to racism, my faith has been shaken. I will remember the year 2020 as a time when the world seemed to be falling apart and in desperate need of Christ Jesus. Thankfully, my family and I are safe, remain healthy and continue to flourish each day. God has and continues to provide for us.
I would like to share my thoughts and experiences on how COVID-19 has defined my relationship with Christ and his church.
For me, like many people, the pandemic seemed to happen overnight, escalating in a rapid-fire manner. For some, it seemed like a joke, at first. In mid-March, I returned to work from being on family leave. After just two days at the office, I was told to begin working from home as a safety precaution due to COVID-19. I understood the severity of the situation, but I suppose it didn’t quite hit me until I learned that the Catholic churches would be cancelling Mass and closing their doors to the public for an indefinite period because of the pandemic. I began to notice that things really were changing and would most likely never be the same.
During this time of working remotely and staying at home — except for going out to buy the essentials — I found myself meditating more on sacred Scripture. Besides reading the daily Mass readings, I opened the Bible and meditated on whatever Scriptures appeared. The passage from John at the start of this column has become my anthem for the year 2020.
While watching the news I began noticing a struggle that commonly goes unnoticed. The struggle relating to love of self and love for others and love for God. Amidst the chaos, I witnessed individuals buying essential items out of fear, but I also saw individuals donate items out of love. I saw people speak negatively about current events, calling the world’s response ridiculous, but I also witnessed people expressing love and hope, calling this time one of exile and growth.
I suppose I have become more aware of God’s gift of free will that we possess. We have the power and freedom to choose how we will react to the events of the world around us. Society may tell us that this world is all that we have and nothing more. Christ tells us that our home on this planet is only temporary. Our real home, our life goal, is to celebrate eternal life in heaven with God.
Through his Son, Jesus Christ, we received the promise of salvation so that we may have life abundantly with our Triune God in heaven. I believe that in between our earthly arrival and departure we are invited to live our lives in love, to know that the Father loves us and that we share that same love with others.
This defines my COVID-19 experience of faith. In the midst of trial and struggle, Christ is ever present, waiting for us to call to him and fall into his loving embrace. We need to keep in mind that the redeeming power of Christ always outweighs the problems of the world.
(Jourdan Reynolds is a member of St. Mary Parish in Pella.)