God is Near Us, and Listening
by Fr. Edward Gibney St. Gabriel Roman Catholic Church

We have all heard the scriptural narrative about how Jesus walked out on the water to assist his friends who were caught in a boat during a storm.
It's most obvious message is the knowledge that when we are in difficulty, Jesus comes near to us to help us and to ease our fears.
But there is one line from that narrative that seems to be out of place.
We are told that he came toward them walking on the seas, but that, “He intended to pass them by.”
Why was this? Why did Jesus choose to pretend to ignore his friends in their fears and delay his saving help?
Simply put, he did this so that the disciples, and us, might fully feel the need of his help, and earnestly request it and understand the need for it.
There are a lot of people in the world that are questioning why God has allowed the coronavirus to cause such suffering, but there are two things that we should understand about the virus in relation to God. Firstly, God did not bring this virus into the world, nor is it some sort of punishment on humanity. Even though many have lost their way and have lived sinful lives, God does not punish the innocent with the guilty. And secondly, because God gave humanity free will, He limits his intervention in the world to defend that free will, and so He is holding back altering the situation regarding the virus. Therefore, we can see that God is not responsible for the virus nor negligent in not eradicating it.
But that does not mean that God has not used this worldly catastrophe to express, to his children, their need for his help. This is a time when God expects his children to recognize their inability to address this situation on their own, to increase their prayer to the Lord, and to place their trust in God.
This pandemic has separated a great many people from their usual source of closeness to God, the Church Liturgy and the Community of believers supporting each other in the Church.
But in these times when it seems that God is distant or perhaps even has passed us by, it is now, more than ever, that we need to be making our requests for God's help and intervention.
As much as God may appear to be ‘passing us by,’ in our current sufferings, he is, in fact, walking close by us, waiting to hear our prayers and requests, so as to alleviate our fears.
May God Bless you and keep you safe.

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