During this season of Lent the pandemic gives us quite a taste of the Exodus journey of our mothers and fathers in the faith. Even though there are signs of hope (the vaccine being one of them), we are like those walking around in the wilderness without having much hope or orientation.
In the midst of a pandemic, can these Advent texts speak to our grief, both collective and personal, in political ways? These scriptures reveal that to grieve is to bear witness to our tears through righteous anger. They interrogate how our lives are structured along inequitable lines in this present moment and counter a simple return to how things were.
While the pandemic challenges our physical borders, it simultaneously bridges our differences, revealing that we are all migrants.
Living in a time of double pandemic, as the dual waves of racism and COVID-19 wreck against the hulls of our ships and the walls that support us feel increasingly insufficient and even flawed, we, like Peter, may know and trust the call of our God to carry forward in God’s path, and yet waver.
Before the COVID pandemic, low-wage workers were already living in precarious circumstances because these jobs often lack benefits necessary to provide for health care and additional income necessary to build things like emergency savings and retirement funds.
The Syrophoenician woman sees herself as essential—both for herself and for her daughter. She is an uppity woman; we can assume that her daughter lived to often hear the tale, forming her as an uppity woman too.
Blaming Covid 19 on the World Health Organization or on a lab in China and calling Black Lives Matter “radical leftist extremists” follow the American-populist playbook of responding to duress by targeting an alien “other” who have wronged “us” and whom “we’re” right to combat with force.
There is no social location from which an understanding of the whole can emerge, let alone a social location from which wisdom can emerge. How shall we avoid nihilism? I look to the hills, from whence shall come our salvation?
Attending, caring, and listening may seem like small practices in light of the monumental challenges we face today. But it is through this everyday work that we are to discern and pursue a new common life.
It is consistent to say that everyone is equally intrinsically valuable by virtue of being human, and that death will deprive more future well-being from some. Focusing on the deprivation of future well-being will immediately bring up concerns.
From an economic perspective, what we are all experiencing is as simple as it is painful: what we are experiencing is the voluntary and forced breaking down of the relationships we rely on to flourish as social creatures.
By the end of that first week our operations shifted and many of our staff, including myself, were set up in a senior center in Queens getting ready to boost our food distributions and our senior grab-and-go grocery bags. During that week we began to anticipate two major developments of this pandemic: the public health crisis and the ensuing economic hardship.