In recent two month, the Covid-19 pandemic has seriously impacted the world. As updated in April 1, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 186,101 cases of Covid-19 in the U.S., in which 3,603 cases have died. Many Christians perhaps are thinking that this difficult situation is a punishment. Whether this perspective is the case or not, we must properly understand what God’s punishment means to recognize what God is telling us in this situation.
This devotion is not claiming the Covid-19 pandemic is a punishment, but trying to give the meaning of punishment according to the Church’s teaching. Every suffering in any sort could be considered as a punishment. Thus, when the number of people infected by Corona virus has been increasing rapidly, people easily relate this situation to God’s punishment. If it is the case, the punishment is definitely a consequence of sin. However, Saint Augustine teaches that God’s punishment is not to destroy but to educate and improve for a better future. Also, he strongly asserts that God never allows the evil to occur unless it makes the good. In addition, the author of Psalm also affirms that “the Lord chastised me harshly, but did not hand me over death” (Ps 118:18). In short, God’s providence never takes us away from Him, but always leads us to the union with Him.
Therefore, if anyone should consider the Covid-19 pandemic as a punishment, he or she must recognize the call to return to God instead of misunderstanding that God is angry with the people or wants to destroy the sinful world. Thus, the first thing we are necessarily to be mindful of in this difficult time is not to despair or to be scared of but to turn our hearts to God. Especially in the time of Lenten, we are called to repent by receiving the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist as well as by giving up the sinful ways. Because with the command of social distancing we may not able to receive the Sacraments in normal way, the Church has quickly adapted the situation by allowing substitute solutions such as online mass. Thus, we should use as much as possible the opportunities to participate in the substitute solution. The key is that as long as our hearts turn to God, the social distancing is not an obstacle at all. The second thing is that in this horrible pandemic we must be aware of our weakness in nature and unceasingly ask God for help. For, the world cannot overcome this pandemic without God. Thus, all we faithfully rely on God and never stop praying.
God of mercy, heal us and grant us peace in our soul and our body. May we never despair but always trust in Your providence, especially in this hard time. Amen
 “Cases in U.S.,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last modified April 1, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html.