Meeting the Challenges of 2021 with Hope
“Where there is doubt – faith
Where there is despair – hope
Where there is darkness – light
Where there is sadness – joy” (St. Francis of Assisi)
Finally, the year 2020 is over. It will be a year ever remembered for the devastation and heartbreak of the corona virus which brought not only our country but virtually the whole world to a standstill. It was a year we will want to forget although it will be written down in history. It brought much hardship, grief, suffering and pain to many who lost their loved ones to the virus.
Many also lost their livelihoods. Many suffered depression and faced hopelessness in their fight against the pandemic. Many lost even themselves. They lost their passion and even their will to live. Yet the greatest tragedy of life is not necessarily death, but what dies inside you while you are still living. Yes, 2020 was a year of reckoning for all humanity.
The normal hustle and bustle of our busy lives was halted as we were forced to observe severe restrictions, one of the worst being separation from our family and friends. As Noble Laureate, Joshua Lederberg, wisely observed: “The single biggest threat to man’s continued dominance and existence on the planet is the virus”.
Just as it was unimaginable that life could ever return to normal after the September 11 terrorist attack in the US, so it will be that our memories over the coming years will be also sadly overshadowed by the memories of the Corona Virus that took less than one hundred days to shut the world down. The challenges of Covid-19 will remain long with us but despite experiencing some trepidation, however, there is a real awareness that a new chapter is dawning as the New Year unfolds.
Thank God, that we are now coming to grips with the effects of the virus and the new strategies of living with the pandemic. And also, the welcome news that medical science has made a breakthrough and discovered a vaccine now ready to fight this deadly virus which has caused the world so much pain and misery.
However, we too have a part to play. We need to pray for direction in showing continued generosity, compassion, love and concern for one another, and that our whole society will be given the strength to endure these present challenges and to work towards a shared future filled with hope.
We need to pray for people to be compliant and responsive to the instructions of the authorities to ensure containment and improvement of this pandemic.
We need also to pray that our leaders – in their capacity as political, social and spiritual heads – will be granted discernment and creativity to lead and minister in these still unprecedented circumstances.
Without a doubt, 2020 has been a year of uncertainty, despair, gloom and doom, but let us look forward to the coming year with renewed hope, faith, joy, love and normality once again. For hope and having a little faith are our hallmarks for our continued fortitude and existence.
In the meantime, we need to pray that we will not remain anxious or fearful. That we will not hold on to negativity despite the overwhelming number of increasing new outbreaks happening around the world that are casting doubt and uncertainty in these early days of 2021.
Finally, let us be mindful and aware that nothing is impossible to God and Covid-19 will pass like every other plague and pandemic in the past. It will not be necessarily sudden nor painless but God will use this tragedy for the ultimate good of humanity.