March 20, 2020 Friday of the Third Week in Lent | Fr Andy Upah

To read the daily readings, click here.

Due to the Chinese Coronavirus, there are a ton of new rules we have to follow: No groups over ten people, stay 6-10 feet apart, don’t touch your face, wash your hands for twenty seconds, no public Mass, no restaurants, bars, casinos, gyms, dentists, etc. etc. the list just keeps growing.

The intent of these rules is to keep us safe, it’s all to keep us safe and make sure we don’t get sick and ultimately we all stay alive, right?

Well, we could boil all of these rules down to one rule, “stay away from all the people who potentially have the Chinese Coronavirus” which is basically everyone, unless we know exactly where they have been over the last two weeks. 

And the second is, if you have potentially exposed yourself to the Chinese Coronavirus, stay away from people that you could possibly transmit it to... These two rules, in theory, would keep us all safe and healthy.

In today's Gospel, Jesus takes the commandments, which had evolved into a complicated system of rules, the Jewish law which contained about 660 rules which everyone had to follow in order to properly obey the commandments, and he boils it all down to two: 

Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”

That is what Jesus said, “love God, love your neighbor” it all comes down to that.  Even in this current situation it comes down to that. How can we love God and love our neighbor while keeping the appropriate social distance?

Two thoughts: To love God with all you have is to live in a constant relationship with Him.  It’s to talk to Him in prayer, not just when we need something, but all the time, like a best friend who you would see and call and text and snap all day long, but with God it is easier, because the conversation is mental and He is always available, no devices necessary.

Second thought: To love our Neighbor as yourself is to think of what they need.  Are they lonely? Call them. Are they hungry? Feed them. Etc. These are the corporal works of mercy, they could be thought of as more rules, but really it just makes it clearer how to love. The point is to think about our neighbor more, and ourselves less, to grow in love.

It’s going to look different these days, but in some ways it’ll be easier than it’s ever been. Don’t let this opportunity to grow in love pass you by. May God bless you as you strive to love Him and your neighbor more than yourself.