The Most Rev. Howard Gregory, Archbishop of the West Indies and Bishop of Jamaica & The Cayman Islands, says that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) presents an inescapable call for citizens to reflect on how their life and that of the Jamaican society are structured, and how this impacts the life of the most vulnerable among us.
Speaking yesterday (March 22) on the Diocese’s weekly radio programme, “Think on These Things,” Archbishop Gregory said: “a focus on the most vulnerable in our society at this time, primarily those whose economic survival is a day-to-day challenge, must lead us to face the fact that every day for some of our people is a ‘coronavirus day.’ They live on the edge.”
He noted that the virus had levelled the society to the point where, like the vulnerable, everyone now lived on the edge.
But, while it is easy to succumb to anxiety, panic and despair, the Archbishop said experiences of this nature were a regular feature in the Biblical stories of people of faith and their relationship with God. He highlighted the response of the prophet Joel when a locust plague threatened the existence of his society, and he suggested that Joel’s call for reflection and repentance was equally relevant now, if the society was not to “return to business as usual when the virus is gone.”
Joel’s rallying of the people to address their calamity through communal engagement was another important lesson, Archbishop Gregory said. “Our ability to deal with the coronavirus cannot be marked by individualism, selfishness and the indiscipline which has now characterized much of our national life…we as citizens must respond with a collective spirit.”
The Archbishop urged that having learnt from the coronavirus experience that “the condition of each impacts the welfare of the many…that this pandemic be turned into an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of love and service which bind individuals, communities and nations together.”
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