by Andrew Consiglio, leader and director of Youth Fellowship
The world of medicine is scrambling to find the vaccine to treat coronavirus and rightly so. In the meantime, amidst both justified and unjustified alarm, a series of precautionary directives are issued by health authorities.
But what Lent reminds us is that there is an unseen virus much more deadly that the Codvid-19 – we call it sin. It doesn’t stop there. What Lent proclaims loud and clear is Good News – the cure has been long found! We are invited to ‘apply’ it seriously to our lives to avoid a possible far more serious consequence than what is physical.
What is this ‘infection’?
God loves us more than we can ever imagine and has proven it to us in an incredible way. Yet our innate sinfulness and the devil ‘the deceiver of the whole world’ (Rev 12:9) presents sin as the normal way of living. Had the governing authorities played down the seriousness of this viral outbreak, there would have been an understandable outcry. In His merciful love, the Lord invites us to turn away from what harms us (Sirach 19:4). We need to ask for the grace not to trivialise anything that seriously ruptures our relationship with God and to listen to His word with open hearts.
How do we apply the ‘vaccine’?
The Doctor and the Vaccine and are one and the same. Jesus not only offers us mercy, pardon and peace but ‘He is our Peace’ (Eph 2:14). We turn away from sin and compromise, repenting and asking for forgiveness, because the essence of our faith is that God shares His own life with us: I am the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15: 26). So yes we should go to pray in a disciplined way, but we need to remember that what He says and does is hugely more important than what we do and say since the Father ‘who sees what is done in secret, will reward you’ (Matt 6:6).
What are the results of this cure?
Should we expect to have a trouble free-life? No problems, no temptations and no struggles? Not at all! These will remain. But Lent invites us to draw close to the Lord and stay there! As I allow His grace to fill my soul, saying no to myself (exemplified in the discipline of fasting) and giving of myself (exemplified in the discipline of almsgiving) will go far beyond practices restricted to Lent: not eating chocolate or randomly giving some money to the poor. They become a lifestyle where in small ways and in bigger ones, the healing love of God working in me and through me, is reflected in a life of self-donation.
This is what we will celebrate in Easter, the Greatest News to be shared. Don’t be afraid, the real vaccine for the deeper deadly malady has been found. And its available today and every day. Lent reminds us to take seeking it and applying it seriously and rejoice in the results of this effective cure.