Being reborn in a storm
Pope Francis walks alone across the poorly lit empty St. Peter's Square. It is a rainy and wet evening. He speaks the blessing on the city and the world, which was actually not planned until Easter. He speaks it now in the middle of the Corona crisis, where the people expect a word.
Fr. Heinrich Walter
March 27, 2021
The Pope meditates within himself, as if he not only wants to help us to pray, but also to deepen what he believes. “We are frightened and lost… We realize that we are all in the same boat, all weak and disoriented… we are all called to row together.”
Millions of viewers are nodding their heads, yes, they are. The report of the lake storm is the apt biblical story to place humanity at the time of the pandemic. Billions of people around the globe in a boat between stormy waves on the high seas. And intuitively, like the disciples of that time, we all ask the sleeping Jesus: don’t you mind? The pope answers only with the words of Jesus: “Why are you so afraid? Have you no faith yet?”
Now is the time to decide what really matters
Praying, the Pope leads the audience into the depths of the decision. Now is the time to decide what really matters and what is only transitory. It is a time of discernment that may lead us to look again at the Lord and to focus on the people. And then he enumerates many of these ordinary people, who in these days are suddenly experiencing a new appreciation, because they are vital for our survival, systemically relevant as we are now told.
The second decision concerns the recognition that we are in need of salvation. It motivates us to open ourselves existentially to this reality and to invite Jesus into the boat. Finally, he describes the stage set of the evening as a great promise: From these colonnades that embrace Rome and the world, let God’s blessing descend upon you like a comforting embrace
To become new in the storm on the high seas, to come to oneself more deeply than God’s creatures, to find closer to one another in an indissoluble bond and learn to entrust oneself to God, that was the pre-Easter experience of this memorable evening.
Now is the time to eliminate inequality
And now after Pentecost? Everything will be different, we hear everywhere saying. But how will it be? Will we really learn from history? The Pope says clearly at Pentecost: “The pandemic of poverty in the world must be ended.” The central lesson of the crisis is: “We are one humanity”. Now is the time to eliminate inequality. All the suffering will be useless unless people work together to build a more just, equal and Christian society, said Pope Francis.
If this is to become a reality, it must begin in the small communities, the families, the neighbourhoods. And it must begin with appreciation, with respect for the dignity of each person. This will not happen by itself, it has to do with a decision and with determination. Nor will it be able to happen forever, but for a certain time, for which we must be born again and again.