“The Lord does not look at the things people look at; people look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
We are going through difficult times, putting a whole country — a whole world — in hardship. The world is paralyzed by a virus that spreads uncertainty around the globe. It’s a virus that is destabilizing the economy of the planet, creating panic, and leading us to take drastic measures to avoid infecting ourselves. These measures will lead toward paying a very high price to protect health, to protect life. No one wants to get infected; we all want health — we all want to take care of life. We are quarantined!
This is a period in which something insignificant — invisible to the naked eye — has made us slow down, stop, and live uncertain and worrying moments. It all looks like chaos. Despite that, we hope that thanks to all the measures that have taken place, the pandemic will be controlled, a vaccine will be developed, and we will return to normality.
How fragile we are! Something so small can totally change the direction of our lives. However, that also prompts us to appreciate what is really important.
We do not want to get infected or sick from the coronavirus, but there is another type of virus with catastrophic effects on human lives and the economy which the world has become accustomed to and prefers to ignore. This virus is called sin.
Today, many people laugh at sin, believing it and its promoter, the devil, do not exist; but nobody laughs at the coronavirus and its harmful effects.
The same way this quarantine leads us to take care and protect ourselves from this biological virus, the Church uses Lent to stop and — with humility and the grace of God — look at our hearts as the Lord sees them: with eyes of mercy and love and not with the eyes of the world.
What is sin? It’s the absence of Love in the human heart — it’s the absence of God in people’s lives. This virus of sin destroys families, creates conflict and violence, and leaves a void of peace and freedom. It destroys life itself. Daily we ignore this virus, afraid to take necessary measures and use the vaccine, which is the Love of God through the sacraments. The price paid for sin is very high; you can lose your life, both earthly and eternal.
The Lord invites us to see ourselves with the eyes of Love so that in spite of our weaknesses, insecurities, fears, wounds, resentments, hatreds, lusts, etc., we can understand there is someone who loves us above all that and who reveals to us our greatness as children of God. That someone is Jesus and with his help we can repent, start again, and thus recover our lost dignity, letting him heal our wounded heart. By dying from sin, we can be resurrected at the Lord's Passover — resurrected to the true life.
The consequence of the coronavirus is understanding how fragile we are and how the things in which the world invests are so ephemeral — mere appearances.
Sin, even though it covers us in gold, takes away and destroys the great gift of Love that the Lord placed in our hearts, taking us to a life of misery.
Quarantine is not the end but instead is the road to healing. In the same way, Lent is not the end, but a road to resurrection. A road that shows us that there is a vaccine against the virus of sin. That vaccine is Jesus. In the eyes of the world, everything seemed lost because he was hanging on the cross, disfigured by the violence of sin. But it is there where life triumphs. Jesus rose gloriously, conquering and destroying death — and sin — forever.
This is the investment that Jesus invites us to: an investment of our time in true Love.
This way we will find true peace and joy in our hearts. Only by learning to see life with the eyes of the Lord, thru the eyes of Love and not thru the eyes of the world, which only see appearances, can we reap these fruits in abundance. Doing it depends on each one of us!
The only investment that is worthwhile, that gives continuous fruit, and that will continue until eternity, is Love.