We’re All Connected

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin

If there’s one thing the coronavirus pandemic has reminded us is that as members of the human family, we are all connected.

The virus started apparently with one person in faraway China who was infected, scientists speculate, by an animal. It then spread to a small cluster of other people and then throughout the entire, vast country. From there it spread to the Middle East, Europe, the United States and across the globe. And even more locally, we’ve seen that one infected person can lead to an entire cruise ship, school, team or government agency being shut down. So, what began from a single source resulted in everyone on the planet being affected, and no one being immune.

St. Paul realized that many years ago. He wrote that “all the parts [of the body] have the same concern for one another. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.” (I Cor 12: 25-26)

What are some of the other consequences of this truth? It means, for example, that how we speak to and about one another is important. With our words we can lift someone up or tear them down. It means that if one person in our community is in need, we should all be concerned and do our best to respond. It means that at certain important moments we should look beyond our own tribe – our family, parish, school, or company – and be aware of the larger picture.  

There are spiritual meanings to this connectedness too. St. Paul reminds us that we are the Body of Christ with many members. Although we have varying gifts and talents, we complement and need one another. Every parish, school and diocese understands that. And when we pray for one another it’s a sign of our solidarity with the hopes, dreams and needs of others. But on the dark side, every sin we commit, even the most personal ones, affects the spiritual health and purity of Christ’s Body.

Even though there’s been so much suffering and pain, the world will survive the coronavirus pandemic. Lent is always followed by Easter. But it will have also reminded us of a valuable lesson – that we are all children of God and members of one human family. We share responsibility for promoting the common good. And we need one another.

Something to think about: What are the spiritual lessons of the coronavirus pandemic?