With the spread of the coronavirus into Louisiana, people are beginning to prepare for the possibility of becoming sick. As of when I’m writing this, there are 33 confirmed cases in Louisiana, including 23 in Orleans Parish, 3 in Jefferson, and 1 in St. Bernard. Last week, when I went to get a refill for the hand sanitizer at the entrance of Church, I found out that the Walmart, Dollar General, and Walgreens in Meraux were all sold out. People, like my dad, are stocking up on water, non-perishable food, and medicines, in case they have to quarantine themselves.
Some people have also asked if I think this is a punishment for our sins. God doesn’t punish us in that way; He doesn’t send plagues or natural disasters in punishment for our sins. Suffering came into the world as a result of Original Sin and is a sign of the disorder caused by sin, and we look forward to a time when all of creation will be restored in Christ. However, Jesus taught us that any particular suffering or tribulation can’t be attributed to our sins. In the Gospel of Luke we read, “At that time some people who were present there told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He said to them in reply, ‘Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!’” (Lk. 13:1-3) Jesus calls on us to repent of our sins, not because we’ll suffer in this life because of them, but so we can enter into eternal life.
I would like to encourage everyone to reach out in compassion. First, pray for medical personnel, especially those working directly with coronavirus patient. Even if they take precautions they’re still risking contracting it to take care of their patients, and that’s a heroic thing. Take precautions by keeping a certain distance, but also reach out to family and neighbors who are homebound or don’t have anyone else to reach out to for help. We can help by offering to pick up medicines or make grocery runs for them. Call the Church if there’s any specific needs that we can help with. Most importantly, pray daily through the intercession of Our Lady of Prompt Succor that we may have the immediate help of God through healing for the sick and protection against illness for everyone.
Fr. Bryan was pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes from July 3, 2017 to June 2022.