Greetings and blessings from Fr. Mike Dechant OMI
Shakespeare once said: “To be, or not to be? That is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles – and by opposing, end them?
Scientists, doctors, the medical profession say: “To vaccinate or not to vaccinate, that is the question?”
Please allow me to share an analogy:
When one leaves the house to venture out of town, the sign says: “Seatbelts are mandatory” WHY do we comply? Because we believe that seatbelts save lives or at least protects us from serious and debilitating injuries. It’s when we encounter unexpected road hazards: loose gravel, a moose on the road, a drunk driver. We must be attentive to all these situations that can confront us in our travels. We are also encouraged when we hear our family say as we are about to drive away: “Enjoy the ride! Stay alert! Drive safely!”
When we leave the house to venture out: to visit family or friends, shop for groceries, go to church, as we mix and mingle with many different people. we have no idea who or what we may encounter – a contaminated shopping cart handle, a person who is asymptomatic with the coronavirus (and don’t even know it), an unmasked sneeze or cough. We hear family and friends say: “Be safe!, Be prepared! Keep your distance!”
Now, you may argue that the analogy or example is not the same. What may be the difference?
One difference is: when driving alone, the only person I have to worry about is myself. However, even when I travel with others, I still have a responsibility to drive carefully.
Its similarity: concerning our life under the “Covid Cloud”, when I am out and about with others, I not only have to worry and be protective of myself, but also for everyone else that I come into close contact. The notion of FREEDOM takes on a whole new dynamics. It’s not just what I want to do for myself, but also, what is my responsibility to others?
These new variants are lethal, non-discriminatory and depersonalized. It does not respect social status, where one lives, or how important and invincible one thinks of oneself. We must do everything we can to protect ourselves from this dangerous phenomenon which has impacted the whole world.
Unfortunately, there has been a plethora of information, both in favor and against the need for vaccination. It seems, as time and opinions have unfolded, our society has ventured into the absurd and ridiculous. Under the guise of “freedom”, people’s behaviour has turned violent, protests have put many people at risk, afraid for their physical and mental and spiritual health. The notion to “Stay safe” has been seriously convoluted and meaningless.
I leave you with this question: Where and how is the Gospel message reflected in this discussion and in our behaviour? When Jesus was asked, “Of all the rules and opinions, what is the greatest commandment / mandate we should follow?”
You know what he said, “Love God with your whole heart and mind and soul. And the second commandment – especially during these Covid-times – is to love and respect your neighbor, as you love and care for yourself. We can’t love God and the people who come into our life, if our only concern is for our self!
As your Pastor, I plead with you: Stay safe! Be safe! Get vaccinated!
SO … wherever you go, go with God. Whenever you go, go make a difference.
St. Joseph … pray for us
St. Philip Neri … pray for us
St. Eugene de Mazenod … pray for us
Praise be Jesus Christ, and Mary Immaculate
Fr. Mike Dechant OMI