written by Haniel Garibay, Site Manager at Waller Center
Then Jesus called out in a loud voice, "Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit." And when He had said this, He breathed His last.”
Breathing, or the lack of it, is a matter of concern for people today, so that in the passage above, it seems that the last 4 words resonate more than Jesus’ own last words on the cross.
“He breathed his last.” That’s precisely what happened to George Floyd after he said his last words, “I can’t breathe,” which now has become a classic battle cry for those currently protesting against racial injustice.
Breathing also becomes difficult for some people (like me) who have lung issues (asthma in my case). Though my asthma is well under control I still have concerns whenever I wear a face mask, which the medical and scientific community advise us to do in order to lessen the probability of catching the dreaded Covid-19.
Some people refuse to wear masks, considering it a matter of individual choice rather than social responsibility, of courtesy and respect for others. Such is the politicization of wearing masks that those who think this way get upset, and even become violent, when they’re asked to wear masks, especially by employees in businesses such as grocery stores.
What adds to feeling stifled is the need for physical distancing and sheltering in place. The latest in virtual meeting technology simply can’t replace the longing for more intimate contact. During this pandemic, some people try to meet relatives and friends even as they take precautions, like wearing masks and keeping distance. But many throw caution to the winds and have parties and meet in bars, without masks. The result is often a trip to the ICU.
It’s hard for many people to accept reality much less deal with it accordingly. Dealing with a pandemic and making it pass more quickly requires sacrifice. And that sacrifice is nothing more than practicing safety measures that experts recommend. However difficult they are to observe consistently it’s still way better than getting sick of the virus. Wearing a mask makes it difficult to breathe but this is nothing compared to breathing as a Covid-19 patient.
It’s ironic that many of those who refuse to practice safety measures are professed Christians; the very people supposed to be followers of the One who made the ultimate sacrifice so that others may live. The followers of Christ who taught empathy and compassion can’t even care about others, including their own loved ones by simply wearing masks and avoiding crowds that go a long way towards stopping the spread of the virus.
Even more distinctive of being Christian, but one that’s lost on many, is being an Easter people. The triumph of the Resurrection is what inspires us to bravely face trials and difficulties. Even this current pandemic. We have previous pandemics to learn from and we’re beginning to understand this new Corona virus. Producing a vaccine may take long but it’s only a matter of time. We also hope that we learn from what we have seen, the regeneration of forests and wildlife as well as the clearing of the skies of smog, resulting from a pandemic-induced momentary stoppage of human activity, to help guide our future actions in caring for the planet.