March 2020 changed life as we know it. As hopeful and positive as we might wish to be at this moment, we have to face that:
1. Thousands of people around the world have died. This is especially true for those with underlying medical conditions and the elderly.
2. Over a million people around the world have been infected. This is especially true for those who are living on the lower economic levels of society.
3. Thousands of people have had their work situation altered or lost their jobs.
4. There is bound to be an economic recession that will be difficult for America, and the world, to recover from.
The COVID-19 virus has and will continue to affect:
a. Education: With the rise of “Zoom” and online class arrangements, what will this mean for traditional learning, especially on the level of higher education? Will people still be willing to pay to physically attend universities 10 and 20 years from now when it has been proven that classes can be taken by students via distance learning? This, of course, will mean that students have to become much more self-motivated in their studies and that professors will be willing to adapt to this new way of learning.
b. Human interaction: With the rise of social distancing, once things are “back to normal,” will we, as a human society, be afraid to be in human contact with each other? Will the handshake go the way of the dodo bird? Will hugs be reserved only for those in our circle of family and friends?
c. Mental health issues: With social distancing and isolation, how many people who have emotional or mental health issues will continue to suffer? With loneliness abounding and with the availability of pornography on the internet, how will this insidious evil affect relationships between men and women?
d. Business: Outside of having to run to the grocery store or the pharmacy, almost everything else can be ordered online. What will this do to brick and mortar stores?
e. Medicine: With the health system overwhelmed by COVID-19, will minor medical issues, ones with which we would have gone to the doctor, become less in the forefront of the American mind?
f. Travel: With the growth of travel restrictions, will a vacation to Europe (or even to a different state) become a thing of the past, even for those who might be able to afford it?
g. Religion and liturgy: As necessary as it is to temporarily close our churches, and as good as it is to have our Masses live-streamed, what will liturgy look like in 10 or 20 years? Will reception of Holy Communion become, as it has been in the Church’s history, a practice more common for those in the clergy or consecrated life than the lay faithful? What will parish life look like in the digital age? Will the online Mass and the drive through confession be the new norm?
These are all good questions — ones which run from the ridiculous to the sublime — but, this Easter, as we celebrate the victory of Jesus Christ for us over sin and death, let’s not worry what might happen. Let’s live in the present moment liturgically and allow the radiance of that Holy Night, one in which the Lord broke the chains of sin and death winning for us new and eternal life, flood our minds and hearts.