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by: Rev. Father Jerome R. Secillano, MPA
While we are hopeful about the cure for COVID-19, the use of the phrase “in God’s own time” (kairos) may connote a different meaning. It may mean that we have to wait in eternity, so while waiting, we need to follow government protocols and lock ourselves up in the confines of our homes.
I’m afraid, we really need to do just that because there seems to be no other practical or more effective ways to prevent the spread of this virus. Other countries, of course, have quarantine facilities, and have done strict contact tracing and mass testing which our country hasn’t done yet.
But, we have to understand that quarantine and social distancing are not guarantees for a COVID-free infection. There were people who succumbed to complications from this virus even when they already made themselves virtual prisoners in their own homes. However, by locking ourselves and modifying our social activities, we limit our exposure for getting it and consequently, for infecting others.
From the point of view of prevention, this should be a sound policy, but for how long can the government and other institutions hold fort in providing the needs of the people?
The social amelioration program was a welcome assistance but not everybody was satisfied and has even raised the question of unequal redistribution of government resources. Other sectors also want a piece of the pie but what complicates it more is that not all groups publicly known to benefit from it have not received theirs due to gray areas in the program’s implementation.
Thanks to some Local Government Units (LGUs) who have gone all out in serving their constituents but their effectiveness have inadvertently exposed the ineptness of others leading to added miseries to less-served Filipinos now hopelessly looking for good governance and effective response to this crisis from their leaders.
The business sector prudently avoided talking about losses but they are surely feeling the brunt of COVID-19 and it will just be a matter of time when they make their move and start focusing on how to recoup what they lost.
The Church has done her part by doing a combination of liturgy and charity in keeping afloat the dwindling optimism of Filipinos, but even the charity part may have to take a backseat for a time, given the fact that she has her own financial limitations especially with COVID 19 cancelling out many of her public celebrations. But the good thing about the Church, even with financial constraints, she has not reneged on her duty to serve the Filipinos even serving those not belonging to her fold.
Right now, Filipinos depend on their government. Not wanting to see our country on the brink of collapse, other sectors and institutions are chiming in, giving each Filipino a chance to survive.
But, we all have our limits. Government resources are dwindling, business sector response is time-bound, church’s charity may not be enough, and the people’s patience may be running-out. It seems that “Kairos” is not what we need right now. It is “Kronos”, meaning, we have to find the cure “Now”.
But, there is wisdom in what the President said hours ago, “In God’s time, the Anti-bodies will come”. It was a statement of humility. He, who cursed God to high heavens, now finally recognizes that he is no better than this “stupid God”. His looks betray his usual bravado. His is a picture of surrender, an acknowledgment that only a Higher Being can lead experts to the discovery of the cure to COVID-19.
This is not the time to get back at our President for his misgivings. He may not have offered us the best solutions and strategies in the battle against an unseen enemy, but at least, he, who is the most skeptic and critic of all, have finally recognized God in this crisis.
Not wanting to purely spiritualize the matter, all of us, I think, should finally realize that we can only be dependent on human institutions and power up to a certain extent. And that there are things that are best left to God.
We never know when “Kairos” is coming, but who knows our “impatience” may turn into surprise. The cure may be in the horizon, and our faith may have made it miraculously faster to be found!