By Fr. Nick Kotsis - Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I hope and pray everyone is well. I was speaking with a parishioner this afternoon, and we were batting around an idea. Here we have a virus that is invisible to the naked eye (I know it is seen through electron microscopes and by seeing it through these powerful devices is how it was named, Corona) and the entire world is transfixed by the image.
Whenever I turn on the computer, an image of it pops up on the web browser, usually with a deep red and orange background, suggestive of the danger that is imminent. We have to trust that the doctors, scientists, and government officials are telling us the truth. The danger is real, and yet we are, for all intents and purposes, unable to see the cause of this danger with our eyes. We must rely on the testimony of those who are closest to the biological, medical, epidemiological, and governmental aspects of this issue.
Juxtaposed with this, we have our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Who was born as an infant, grew, was baptized, taught, preached, healed, performed miracles, suffered, was crucified, and rose from the dead – and did all this in plain sight of hundreds and even thousands of people! We have four separate accounts of Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection (the Gospels). We have twelve apostles who went out into the world to proclaim the message as Jesus commanded them and founded churches and related to all the people in those churches the message of the Good News and of their relationships with Christ. We have fourteen letters written by a man who had a particular vision of Christ (St. Paul). We have hundreds and thousands of saints who gave their lives in defense of their faith in Christ.
I think it’s best for us to be aware of how to take care of ourselves and of others during this challenging time – no doubt here; but we shouldn’t be transfixed to it. Instead, I think it best for us to keep our focus on the One Who was transfixed on the cross, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Even looking at these two images, we can see clearly the importance of keeping our eyes on the “transfixed” One.
The image of the virus is meant to make us shudder with the colors that are added to it – and we can’t even see it in earnest.
The image of the crucified Christ, though it was meant to lead us into fear, does quite the opposite. Look at Jesus. He is not shone in agony (though He went through it). He is not slumped in a position of death. The wounds from the whipping and beating He endured are not shown. His face is gentle, almost impassive and His comportment steady. Even the Virgin Mary and St. John are depicted as sad, yes, but certainly not despondent. This is not meant to hide or cover the facts of His Passion. Rather, the iconographic depiction of the Crucified Lord shows us that Jesus was in control the whole time. He allowed it to happen for our sakes, so that the Resurrection could bring us forever with Him.
Rather than transfixing our minds on the images of the Corona Virus, which only brings us fear and worry, it is my prayer that we are all more focused on the transfixed Christ, Who brings us glory and everlasting life through that cross. Amen.