Fifteen months ago, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pope Francis used today’s Sunday Gospel as his text to deliver his extraordinary “Urbi et Orbi” address in St. Peter’s Square on March 27, 2020.
Now, at least in the United States, as the force of the pandemic storm has waned, and as the numbers of cases and deaths are returning to the levels of those early days, it’s good to revisit how this Gospel and the Pope’s message speak to us today.
Using the imagery of Mark 4;35-41, the Pope described the pandemic as a storm that “exposes our vulnerability and uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities.”
Fifteen months later, have we changed? Have we dropped the false priorities and habits? Has our human and spiritual development changed for the good?
If not, then maybe again it is time to again say, “Wake up, Lord.” To again, as the Pope said last year, “realize we are in need of salvation. We are not self-sufficient…we need the Lord, like ancient navigators needed the stars. Let us invite Jesus into the boats of our lives.”
The disciples experienced the miracle of the wind and sea being obeyed by Jesus, but also the experience of their fear being transformed into hope. We have witnessed the “miracle” of the vaccines. Have we experienced our fears being transformed to hopes? If not, the power of the Lord is always available for awakening.