By Vernon Khelawan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Life, as we know it, in Trinidad and Tobago today or even yesterday, has been turned upside down; inside out and probably everything else all because of the killer virus COVID-19.
Would you have thought the Carnival fun would quickly turn into a global pandemic resulting in thousands of world deaths so far? I did not think so, but we are right in the middle of it.
This is not the first time we have had to fight any outbreak. When I was a boy, we fought off the polio outbreak, then it was SARS, but I was working outside the country.
In spite of the many theories surrounding COVID-19, I believe that God is sending a serious message to this topsy-turvy, selfish and very materialistic world. In this small space we call Trinidad and Tobago, His sending this plague, for that is what it is, smack in the Lenten season, must say something to all of us.
Reflect for a moment on how things are in the country right now. Horrible crimes are the order of the day; a murder toll that’s through the roof; gender issues; child abuse; home invasions; fraud; bribery; thefts and a host of other crimes, all calculated to bring pain and hurt to your fellow man.
And as the wheels of justice turn so very slowly, the incarcerated multiply daily so much so that the authorities are looking for ways to ease the prison population.
Are we ready to make the necessary changes? As our Archbishop so succinctly put it repeatedly in his recent Triduum sermons that we “need love”. As a one-time hit song says, “What the world needs now is love”, something which is greatly lacking in our society and in the entire world. He implored Trinbagonians to bring more and sincere love into our everyday dealings with each other.
Archbishop Gordon comparing the folks of old who confronted their faith and fears after the crucifixion in the ‘Upper Room’ and who were filled with despair and negativity, we, now sequestered in our homes, must not despair and confront our problems.
Writing in his regular column in this paper and reproduced in the Daily Express about HOPE, Archbishop Gordon said, “Hope is founded on a relationship with God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead. No matter how things go—and the crucifixion of Christ was the worst of things—Jesus never lost sight of His Father. He never lost hope even when He suffered on the Cross. When He said, ‘My God, my God why have you forsaken me?’ it was not a cry of despair. It was an affirmation of hope.”
He said we were so accustomed to human power, we had not built up our muscles of the virtue of hope. “Hope is a virtue, one of the three ‘cardinal virtues’. We express it in the little everyday things. Now, we need to stop and reflect again on the meaning of hope, or rather, in whom or what we put our hope. Is it in human science and technology, or in God?” he added.
Our Prime Minister in his Good Friday message pushed the theme of love when he urged citizens to reflect and hold on to Christ’s message of love and compassion during this time.
He added, “His (Jesus’) call to us to love our neighbour and even our enemies as we love ourselves, may be most significant today than any other period in modern history. Let us hold on to that message of love and compassion as we go through our difficult personal challenges and that of our nation.”
So as we fight off the challenges we all face with COVID-19, let us seriously look at how we conduct our fragile lives and understand perfectly that we are never in charge. God is.
With this at the forefront of our daily existence, let us make every effort to lead better lives—full of love, hope and compassion, generous to our poor and homeless; serious change in attitude and a resurgence in family life.