An Irish bishop has paid tribute to key workers, including gardaí “who risk being spat at…just as Christ was”, and the many other people who are making “enormous sacrifices” amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Bishop of Elphin, Kevin Doran, said throughout history there have been times when various forms of sacrifice have been called for. He acknowledged that the sacrifices currently being asked for throughout the world would not have been thought possible three months ago.
“Nurses, doctors, chaplains and other healthcare workers place their lives on the line in a way that might never have been imagined. Gardaí serving the public, risk being spat at in the street, just as Christ was,” he said, citing reports of officers being assaulted as they try to enforce social distancing.
“For ordinary men and women who work in shops, or drive delivery vans or public transport, going to work involves taking a risk for others. Older people, who have to stay in the cocoon; children who miss their friends, students who worry about their courses and their exams; workers who have had to take a substantial cut in their wages; all of them are making sacrifices.
“And of course, many of our brothers and sisters have been seriously ill and hundreds have died,” he added.
“In the final analysis,” the bishop reflected, “it is not what happens to us that makes the difference; it is the generosity and the freedom with which we give ourselves.
“There are many people today, including people who would not necessarily think of themselves as particularly religious; who are not Christian perhaps, but who are making enormous sacrifices. It is in them that we meet Christ today, whether or not they realise it. Can the Spirit of Jesus be at work even in those who don’t know Jesus? Nothing is impossible with God. Because the Son of God took on our human nature and died a human death, every human sacrifice is, in some sense, joined to his. So much the better, of course, if we can consciously make that connection and choose to be ‘his body’.
“I can’t help thinking that there is a great learning in all of this. If we are learning, in some sense, to die with Him, then we will surely live with Him, in this life and in the next,” Bishop Doran concluded.
Picture: Gardai stop and question people at a checkpoint on O’Connell Street in Dublin as the Covid-19 crisis continues. (Niall Carson/PA).