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We are not as powerful as we think we are

I imagine that many of you who are reading this article remember 9/11. I also imagine that a number of you remember the day that President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. And I imagine there may be a few of you who remember Pearl Harbor in 1941.
There have been pivotal moments in the life of our country that affected us deeply and changed us. I just mentioned three examples of those pivotal moments. Perhaps this pandemic, this COVID-19 virus, is going to have lasting effects on our country. It is too early to know; we are still in the midst of it. It is only when we can look back that it will become possible to see how it changed us.
Perhaps, however, though we are in the midst of this pandemic, we can see that this virus is reminding us of something very important: We are not as powerful as we think we are. The truth is that we are not as much in control as we think we are. We cannot create enough security for ourselves that will guarantee that nothing will disturb us.
After 9/11, when we realized in that tragic event that we live in a very dangerous world, we decided as individuals and as a government to create security for ourselves. In these past 19 years that has been our effort: to be a little more secure and to protect ourselves a little more. So we have decided: Let’s have one more screening of passengers or baggage at our airports. Let’s have one more security camera on our home or place of work. Let’s have one more metal detector at our governmental buildings or even high school football stadiums. Let’s have one more improved airbag in our cars, or one more security guard.
I am not against any of these things. But we began to think that if we would just take enough actions we could create security for ourselves. Then along came this infinitesimally small virus, so small that we cannot see it with the human eye, and we discovered that we were unable to stop it from spreading throughout the world. This was a wake-up call that we are not as much in charge as we think we are.
But we who are followers of Jesus Christ should already know that. The Lord promises us many things but security is not one of them. It is quite the opposite. He tells us: which of you for all your efforts add one second to your life? (Mt 6:27) The Lord tells the parable of the man who creates security for himself by acquiring great wealth. Then God says to him: “You fool this night your life will be demanded of you. To whom will all this piled up wealth of yours go?” (Lk 12:16-21)
The Lord does not promise us security. Instead, He promises us that He will be with us. With Him we can handle all the changes of life, and life is constantly changing. With Him we have nothing to fear.
In the Gospel Jesus says to His followers, I will not leave you orphaned. He promises that He is not going to leave us, not for a moment. (Jn 14:18) So often we can feel God is absent from us in the struggles, insecurities and changes of life. However, He is right there with us.
The Lord goes on to tell us: “The world will not see me but you will see me.” (Jn 14:19) We will not see the Lord with our eyes but with our heart. When we truly believe that He is with us, then He will keep His promise that “I will come to you and reveal myself to you.” He tells us that you will realize that “you are in me and I am in you.” (Jn 14:10)
Maybe this moment that we are going through, as difficult and as painful as it, is an opportunity for us to remember that we are never alone. We cannot create security for ourselves so that nothing is going to be painful for us, or nothing will challenge us, or nothing will change around us. We are helpless to do that.
What we are able to do is to always know that He is with us in all things.

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