In the midst of the pandemic of coronavirus, it was surprising that many people from print, radio, tv and social media asked: Where is the Church? What is the Catholic Church doing?

It is surprising because nobody asked: Where are the Protestants? What are the Born-again doing? What help is the Iglesia ni Cristo giving? What consolation do the Musims extend?

No, they only looked for one religious faith – the Catholics! And the Church did not disappoint.

Though some detractors from the government, media, sects or cults tried to discredit the Church, it was obvious that around the world, the faith community that did the most to help people spiritually and materially was the Catholic Church.

Where is the Church? What did she do in the midst of the pandemic? You need only to read in the papers or watch on tv, search in Google, follow in social media… and you will discover the answer to your questions. It is part of the history of the corona virus episode of the world.

From the Pope to the priests, bishops, nuns and missionaries and lay leaders, we saw the Church blessing people, celebrating the Eucharist, leading prayers, – in all social media platforms! –  offering confessions (even in the driveway), visiting the hospitals, counselling through the phone… Facebook became a parish; Google became a cathedral…

Not only that, Catholic schools were opened to the homeless, Catholic buildings became housing for frontliners, fund drives were held online to distribute medical supplies, equipment, and food to those most in need. This happened from Italy to the USA, from Africa to the Philippines.

Today’s first reading (Acts 6:1-7) shows us why the Church acted in this way and why she acts this way in every situation. St. Peter explains that the main goal of the Church is to proclaim the word about the Risen Christ and to pray for people. This is our spiritual mission. But he also says that we have a task towards the poor, in this case poor widows, who need material support. This is our temporal mission.

So the mission of the Church, received from the Lord is complete; we take care of the soul but we also take care of the body. Not to do that is to betray the trust given us by Jesus.

In the Gospel Jesus (Jn 14:12) says today: “Whoever believes me will do the works that I do.” What did Jesus do? He preached, prayed and inspired people but he also healed the sick, fed the hungry and supported the weak.

If the Church was so active in both the spiritual and material fronts, why did people still asked about her whereabouts during the pandemic? Well the method of the Church is not that of politicians who parade their work to their constituents. She does not do her mission followed by a camera or a journalist, unless these take notice.

Jesus inspires the Church to act out of love, not for publicity or praise. And she does not expect to be thanked at all.

Thankfully, people notice, experience and share how the people of the Church helped them. A doctor who recovered from covid-19 said that while he lay in the hospital bed, a phone call from a priest gave him peace and courage. A lawyer who also recovered shared that while in the hospital, he gained hope through the online messages of priests and the Masses celebrated there.

Finally, the Church did not only help the world spiritually and materially during the pandemic. She shared in the sufferings of the victims of the virus. So many priests in Italy died. Nuns and missionaries died, some of them after being infected by the people they served.

“If you believe in Me, you will also do the works I do. Amen.


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