Archbishop Gomez: In providence, coronavirus is a call to depend on God

Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles in Rome Sept 16 2019 Credit Daniel Ibanez CNA Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Sept. 16, 2019. | Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

In his column on Tuesday, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles said that in God's providence, the pandemic is calling us to remember our need for God and to deepen our solidarity.

"The deepest questions raised by this pandemic are about God and his designs," the president of the US bishops' conference wrote April 21 at Angelus News. "Where is he and what is he saying to us in this moment - what is he saying to his Church, to the nations of the world, to each of us in our own personal circumstances?"

"I see God calling us, in a most dramatic way, to realize how much we need him, how we cannot live without him," he answered. "But I also see God calling us to a deeper sense of solidarity, to realize that we are responsible for one another, that we depend on one another and we have to take care of one another."

The archbishop recalled that in the early years of Christianity, amid epidemics, non-Christians "marveled at the charity and compassion of Christians" as they cared for the sick.

That service continues today, he said, noting online Catholic education, meals provided for poor children, food pantries, and financial assistance given to those in need of food, clothing, and shelter.

"It is inspiring and beautiful. Through the witness of your love, our neighbors can see the presence of the risen Lord, even in this time of affliction and adversity," Archbishop Gomez wrote.

"God is asking us to share in the insecurities and deprivations that define ordinary life for millions of people in nations around the world. We are being forced to do without what most of our brothers and sisters never had to begin with."

He said the struggle caused by the inaccessibility of the sacraments "is a hard cross to bear," but added that "maybe God is asking us to share in the sufferings of the millions of Catholics who live under regimes that repress or persecute the faith. These brothers and sisters of ours hunger and thirst for the sacraments and cannot receive them. This is their daily reality."

The archbishop acknowledged that while he is grateful to be connected to the people of his local Church through, for example, livestreamed Masses, "a 'virtual Mass' is still virtual … it is not the same as seeing one another face-to-face, drawn together in the fellowship of Christ."

Archbishop Gomez urged the people of Los Angeles to "intensify our prayers and sacrifices" for those who live in areas where the Church is repressed or persecuted.

"Let us join our sufferings to Our Lord's passion in his living Body, his Church. Let us offer our sufferings for every person who is bearing greater burdens than we are."

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