THE SERVANT GENERAL
A PERSPECTIVE ON COVID-19
BUILT ON ROCK
Lord chastised me harshly,
but did not hand me over to death.”
Our MFC theme this year is “Built on Rock.” It
is also related to COVID-19, as God continues to speak to
us and teach us.
reality is that God does chastise His people, at times severely.
“The Lord chastised me harshly” (Ps 118:18a).
This is due to sin in our lives and a world that is steeped
in evil. God’s intent is to bring His people back to
does God accomplish this? He calls our attention by disciplining
us. But we need to listen to and heed what He is imparting
to us. Then we must repent of sin and turn to faith in Jesus.
This happens when Christ is proclaimed, we hear, and we believe.
It has been that way since the Church was established on the
day of Pentecost. By means of Peter and the early Church,
“many of those who heard the word came to believe”
(Acts 4:4a). Such is the work of evangelization. Faith comes
through hearing the word of God.
crucial is this work? It is absolutely critical to one’s
eternal destiny, for one to be saved and make it to heaven.
Salvation is only in Jesus. “There is no salvation through
anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given
to the human race by which we are to be saved.” (Acts
Unfortunately, Jesus has been rejected by many. He is opposed
by a fallen world. He is abandoned by lapsed Catholics. He
is betrayed by even some clerics, some of them in our Church
hierarchy. This is much like what happened to Jesus, who was
persecuted and put to death by the elders, priests and scribes.
And thenthe religious leaders persecuted his disciples as
well. “While they were still speaking to the people,
the priests, the captain of the temple guard, and the Sadducees
confronted them, disturbed that they were teaching the people
and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.”
are those Church leaders today who condemn proselytism, which
is actually evangelization. It is an effort to bring about
religious conversion. In fact, the Jews who converted to Christianity
were called proselytes. It is the very work of our Church,
which is missionary.There are those in our Church today who
teach that all religions are valid and are ways to God. But
how can that be, if there is no salvation except through Jesus?
though rejected, Jesus remains as the Rock upon whom we built
our house. As Peter told the leaders and elders, “He
is ‘the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has
become the cornerstone.’” (Acts 4:11). As the
psalmist says, “The stone the builders rejected has
become the cornerstone.” (Ps 118:22).
though we may be persecuted for sharing Christ, we are to
continue to do so. As MFC, as members of the Catholic Church,
that is our life and mission. There will be challenges
and trials, oppression and persecution, suffering and pain.
All the more, we need to be founded on the Rock that is Christ.
He sets us free. “In danger I called on the Lord; the
Lord answered me and set me free.” (Ps 118:5). With
the Lord helping us, we overcome obstacles and are assured
of victory in our mission “The Lord is with me as my
helper; I shall look on triumph on my foes.” (Ps 118:7).
If this is the case, then we need never be afraid. “The
Lord is with me; I am not afraid; what can mortals do against
me?” (Ps 118:6).
Many Christians today are no longer sharing Christ. Our Church
seems to have lost her missionary fervor.This is always
a danger.Even the apostles at first seemed to have lost
focus. Even as Jesus had already appeared to them and sent
them to continue his work, they went back to fishing. Jesus
had to remind them of their mission. Jesus again did the miracle
of having them catch a great deal of fish. They were reminded
that they were to become fishers of men.
disciples caught “one hundred fifty-three large fish”
(Jn 21:11). Jerome claimed that Greek zoologists catalogued
153 species of fish. So this number signified their universal
mission. They were to go to the ends of the earth and make
disciples of all the nations. This is our call too.
we must persist in this most important and critical aspect
of our faith. We must share Christ so people can meet Christ
and start to live Christ. So they will be filled with the
Holy Spirit. So they will be in awe of the Father. And so
they will experience the fullness of mercy of a loving God.
“Let those who fear the Lord say, his mercy endures
forever.” (Ps 118:4).
With God’s mercy, there is salvation. With salvation,
there is deliverance, from sin and the effects of sin. With
deliverance and restoration, we can be set free from God’s
chastisement, in today’s case, COVID-19. “The
joyful shout of deliverance is heard in the tents of the righteous”
continue to fervently pray for this pandemic to pass. But
we must know that only God can cause this to happen. We
are healed only in the name of Jesus. In speaking of the cripple
who was able to walk, Peter said, “then all of you and
all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name
of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God
raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you
healed.” (Acts 4:10).
our desperate situation of COVID-19 today, we must know that
only God can save us. “I was hard pressed and falling,
but the Lord came to my help. The Lord, my strength and might,
has become my savior.” (Ps 118:13-14). We must continue
to be built on Rock. We must continue with our mission. We
must rely on the power of God and the name of Jesus, especially
as we face opposition from the world. Though surrounded and
seemingly overpowered, we trust in God and claim, “in
the Lord’s name I cut them off.” (Ps 118:10-12).
Many have already died from COVID-19, and many will still
die. But the greater tragedy is the spiritual deaths that
rage throughout the world. Those who die of COVID-19 when
in the state of grace will find themselves in heaven, so death
is gain. But those who die in serious sin will end up in hell.
That is eternal loss.
much of the world is focused on finding a cure or vaccine
for COVID-19, we already have the cure for spiritual infirmity
and demonic infection. It is Jesus. Those of us who have been
brought out of spiritual death and who know Jesus have the
responsibility to make him further known. “I shall not
die but live and declare the deeds of the Lord.” (Ps
118:17). Then, as we are used by God to become instruments
of blessing to others, we ourselves, as first responders,
will be greatly blessed. “Blessed is he who comes in
the name of the Lord.” (Ps 118:26a).
grant salvation! Lord, grant good fortune!” (Ps 118:25).
 The laity especially today are being called by God to
step forward, to participate fully in the life and mission
of our Church, to proclaim the gospel because we are sent
by Jesus himself, without having to wait on the hierarchy
for permission or directions.
 Not only that, but there are many in our Church, including
clerics, that have become accommodating to the secular humanist
world, if not already absorbed by it.
 It would be disobedience to Jesus’ marching orders
to us, and it would make the Church betray her basic mission,
her raison d’etre.
 “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so
I send you.” (Jn 20:21).
 This of course includes God guiding medical practitioners
and enabling them to find a cure or vaccine.
The problems that COVID-19 has brought are not just illness
and death, but also economic dislocation. Extended lockdowns
as a cure could become worse than the disease. There has to
be the right balance, which is a challenge. But this is also
where we turn to God and rely on Him. If we are right with
God, if the world builds on the Rock that is Christ, then
there will be deliverance not just from the pandemic but also
from financial or economic disaster.