The virtue of staying at home amid COVID-19

ACCORDING to a current study conducted by the University of the Philippines OCTA Research the number of COVID-19 cases could reach 85,000 with 2,000 deaths by the end of July if the reproduction number of the virus continues to increase. In fact, the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Philippine College of Chest Physicians, Philippine Pediatric Society, and Philippine Society of Public Health Physicians cautioned that the Philippines “may become the next global epicenter of COVID-19 unless prompt action is taken by our leaders and the general public.”

COVID-19 has changed day-to-day routines for everyone. One of the adjustments to our daily routines is the passionate advice to “stay at home” when going out is not essential. Yes, it is very difficult for you to completely stay at home. But by reflecting deeper, we come to know that our staying at home is like reliving what Jesus did after He was found at the temple at a very young age and before starting His public ministry. The gospel of Saint Luke tells us that “ Jesus went down with them, returning to Nazareth, and He continued to be subject to them ” (Luke 2:51).

Most Rev. Ruperto Cruz Santos (Bishop of Balanga) in fact in one of his pastoral letters explains that the private life of Jesus was His staying at home. The Bible says: “And Jesus increased in wisdom, and age, and in divine and human favor” (Luke 2:52). Bishop Santos tells us three essential values of staying at home, which includes: 

First, OBEY. The Incarnation of our Lord Jesus is His obedience to God the Father. The daily life of Jesus at home was His obedience to His parents, Joseph and Mary. The whole life of Jesus was encapsulated by a selfless life of obedience for He completely obeyed the will of the Father. To fulfill the will of the Father, Jesus “humbled Himself by being obedient to death, death on the cross” (Phillippians 2:8). Jesus was also obedient to Joseph and Mary “ by being subject to them” (Luke 2:51). He stayed and lived with them until He started His public ministry after His baptism at river Jordan by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17).

Thus, the very life of Jesus is best described by His obedience to the divine plan of God the Father. The unconditional submission of Jesus to the parental guidance of Joseph and Mary was His obedience to them … Staying at home is to live the ‘what’ and ‘how’ to do in the Church. Your home is now your Church.

Second, PRAY. The very life of Jesus is a life of prayers. Before making decisions such as choosing His disciples (Luke 6:12), performing miracles like the raising of Lazarus (John 11:41), or undertaking a very important decision such as the agony in the Garden (Matthew 26:34), Jesus always resorts to prayers. He taught His disciples to pray (Luke 11:1). He invites us to “watch and pray” (Matthew 26:41).
Staying at home is the most opportune time to be with family at prayers. Speak about Jesus, share your favorite Gospel passages and read spiritual readings to them. Instead of video games or videoke, sing religious or Gospel songs. Instead of dance or picture challenges, heed the invitation of Jesus, urging us “could you not keep watch with me for an hour” (Matthew 26:40)? At home, we have more than enough time to pray. We have to pray constantly and consistently especially during this troubling time of C0VID-19. And at home, we are with God.

Lastly, OFFER. The very private life of Jesus was surely involved sharing house chores. He also learned and worked with Joseph as He was called the “carpenter’s son” (Matthew 13:55). Jesus did what should be done at home. Being “obedient to them” (Luke 2:51), Jesus followed the house rules and fulfilled the words of Joseph and Mary.

Jesus lived a life of self-giving and offered for our own good. He shared what He had, even His own life, as an offering to the Father for our salvation. Jesus said, “there is no greater love than this, to give one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Because of God’s love, Jesus accepted the cross, carried it, and was willingly crucified. By His death on the cross, He granted to us the Father’s forgiveness. We received God’s mercy, which made us, once again, in communion with Him. Jesus continued to assure us of offering what is best and most beneficial to us as He promised “after I have gone and prepared a place for you, I shall come again and take you to me, so that where I am, you also may be” (John 14:3).

What you offer and do in the Church are now most essential for your family members at home. Can you see that your house is now the continuation of your services at the Church? Can you realize now that what you do in the Church should be extended to your family? To stay at home is to be more productive, useful, and helpful to them. It feels as if Jesus is urging us “go back to your family and tell them how much God has done for you” (Luke 8:39).

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