It has been more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to stay at home. Remote work and online classes became a norm for many. Initially, some welcomed the change. We get to stay home with our families; we stay safe. We do not have to take long commutes anymore. But as the pandemic dragged on, it began to take its toll on our well-being, especially on our mental health. The decrease in face-to-face contact led to an increase in feelings of loneliness. In the seminary, we are fortunate to live in a community. We continue to have regular interactions with more than a few people. But I know that there are also others out there whose only human encounters are with couriers who deliver the things they have purchased online.
In today’s gospel, Jesus knew his disciples would later abandon and leave him. Yet, he also knew that he was never alone because the Father is with him. At Pentecost, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit as he had promised, and He continues to be with us today. Through Jesus and with the Holy Spirit, we have been given access to the Father. We can connect with God whenever we pray. When we pray, we remember we are in His presence. St. Paul tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), but praying does not only mean vocal prayer. We are praying when we become aware of His loving presence among us. We also see signs of His presence whenever we partake of the sacraments. Although not all of us are blessed to receive Him sacramentally through the Eucharist, we can still invite Him to come into our hearts through spiritual communion. Jesus will never abandon us. And so, whenever we feel the effects of prolonged isolation, let us always remember that He is with us and we are never alone.
By: Sem. Richard Anthony Lim
The disciples said to Jesus,
“Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech.
Now we realize that you know everything
and that you do not need to have anyone question you.
Because of this we believe that you came from God.”
Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now?
Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived
when each of you will be scattered to his own home
and you will leave me alone.
But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
I have told you this so that you might have peace in me.
In the world you will have trouble,
but take courage, I have conquered the world.”