I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
(Psalm 27 – Psalm for the Seventh Sunday of Easter)
During this bleak time of the pandemic these words may seem hollow. Where can we actually see the good things of the Lord? When will we be able to do everything just as we had done in the very recent past? How will we be able to live as before? We are continually confronted by the problems created by one of God’s smallest creature – a virus. And we, the best of all creatures, are confounded by the workings of this minute organism. Where are those good things? Are they just the promise of heaven, whenever we may arrive there? Do we have to “tough it out” here in order to receive the reward hereafter?
When Philip asked Jesus to let the apostles see the Father, He questioned Philip, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and still you do not understand? If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.” Have we been with Jesus all this time (the whole of our lives for most of us) and still we cannot see the good things of the Lord? They are all there, in that same living person, Jesus.
Jesus is everything to us, quite literally. In Him do we find the image of God, the love, mercy and understanding of God, not as coming from a philosopher or an academic paper, but from God, Himself! He has described the kind of world that He wants for us, not merely as a possibility but as a project to be completed – by us! Look beyond the evils of the day and ask what is needed here or there. You will find that the answer lies in the descriptive words of Jesus – love your neighbor as yourself. The answer to our present problems is not simply in a vaccine for the virus – as significant as that may be – but rather in the strong, vibrant faith of the individual follower of Jesus – us. We carry around in our hearts the answer to the problems of mankind. When the virus has diminished, there will still be hunger, hatred, prejudice, inequality, etc.
Do we really want the good things of the Lord – here, on earth? Then we must open our eyes and recognize the answer before us: we must be peace in the midst of war; we must be love in the face of violence; we must be hope in the face of despair; we must be self-sacrifice for the oppressed; we must be home for the homeless!
To do this we must not be distracted. We must stay focused on Jesus!.