Editorial: A hopeful reality

  • March 12, 2021

How many times over the past year have you heard the phrases “getting back to normal” and “putting COVID-19 behind us”?

The truth is, as much as we want to, neither of those things is possible for the vast majority of people, whether they or their families were directly touched by this virus or not. How many of us will hesitate before going to a restaurant again, or the movies, or a crowded mall, or even to church? The pandemic has made us uneasy with even the most casual of life’s common encounters.

For church-going Catholics, the last year has been especially hard, having been forced to give up sacraments and the celebration of Mass for the sake of everyone’s health. As COVID case numbers drop, churches are still subject to strict in-person limits and governments appear reluctant to loosen restrictions even as other areas of the community get back to business.

And lets not kid ourselves. Even as vaccines are finally being injected into arms, this pandemic is far from over and it might even rally into yet another wave with all the variants.

That’s the bleak reality. There is also a hopeful reality, built on the continuing generosity of spirit that people have exhibited and a genuine effort by churches to keep people connected to each other and their faith.

The dark spring of 2020 turned to summer, then fall and an even darker winter, the world almost numb to the casualties of this horrible virus. A year later, frustrated, worn out and at last armed with vaccines to battle back, we are inching our way out of this foxhole.    

Along the way, we have learned a few lessons that would be foolish to discard. Here are just a few of them:

  • That care for our elderly, vulnerable and marginalized communities is a priority to which we must pay more than lip service.
  • That the strength that comes from our church community cannot be minimized, nor taken for granted.
  • That “love thy neighbour” is a commandment that can and must be a living reality.
  • That technology, however imperfect, is a wonderful tool to break through the dangers of isolation.
  • That investment in scientific research and drug production is crucial to protect Canadians.
  • That a health crisis has exposed social and economic injustices that must be addressed.
  • That civic leaders must listen to the needs of faith communities and acknowledge the importance of spiritual as well as physical well-being.

One day, we will look back at this pandemic with some clear-eyed perspective on humanity’s response to tragedy, and also hopefully a deep sense of gratitude that our faith helped see us through.

Overwhelmingly, though, we will see it with great sorrow for the lives we have lost, lives that make “getting back to normal” an almost impossible task.

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