Some years ago, I visited the Holy Land and said Mass on Mt Tabor. It is situated more or less mid-way between Galilee and Jerusalem, and from the peak you can look out on a large plain, and the town of Megiddo. There are people who think the end of the world is supposed to take place at Armageddon, somewhere nearby.
The journey that Jesus was making on his way to Jerusalem was not only a geographical trip, from A to B, but also a journey of faith. He could have stayed in Galilee and remained a small figure in the northern back-lands but he decided that he had to go to face the forces of evil in the city of Jerusalem. So, when he was praying and the cloud covered the mountain, and the voice was heard saying, ‘this is my son, the beloved, listen to him’, it was directed both to us, the disciples, and Jesus himself. He was confirmed in his conviction; he had to go to face the evil forces lined up against him.
The Apostles who heard this were totally at a loss; what was going on? We today are often at a loss; what is happening to me/us? Where is God in the midst of our confusion and darkness?
Pope Francis recently said, “Loving actions change history: even the ones that are small, hidden, every day. For God guides history through the humble courage of those who pray, love and forgive. There are so many hidden saints, who are next-door, who with little acts of love, change history.”
Pope Francis recognizes this freedom in the healthcare professionals who have risked their lives and worked so hard for so many months:
Healthcare workers are the saints next door, who have awoken something important in our hearts, making credible once more what we desire to instil by our preaching.
They are the antibodies to the virus of indifference. They remind us that our lives are a gift; we grow by giving of ourselves, not preserving ourselves but losing ourselves in service. (Pope Francis, Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future (Simon & Schuster: 2020), 13.)
So, whether it is a personal crisis or the global COVID-19 crisis, the answer is the same: Jesus is the beloved Son, we need to listen to him. What he has to say to each of us may vary but the basic message will always be “be true to your inner self, to your best intentions, and act with courage and sta nd up for the truth.”