Scott Opperman, Director of Mission Integration, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s
Kathy Schell, Director of Mission Integration, St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea
- From Palm Sunday on April 5 through Easter Sunday on April 12, our Western Christian sisters and brothers will commemorate Jesus’ passion, death, and Resurrection: Liberation from sin and death.
- From sunset on April 8 through nightfall on April 16, our Jewish sisters and brothers will commemorate Passover: Liberation from Egyptian slavery.
- Expected to begin on the evening of April 23, our Muslim sisters and brothers will begin a month-long commemoration of Ramadan: Liberation from that which causes distance from Allah.
All three of these religious observances focus adherents on living freely and fully in right relationship with God and others. From what do we need to liberate ourselves to live freely and fully in right relationship now? In the topsy-turviness of COVID-19, perhaps for many of us it’s fear. In fact, in David Brook’s recent column in the New York Times, “The Moral Meaning of the Plague,” he said that, “we are all assigned the task of confronting our own fear.”
This is no small task, and there are days when we wonder how we can possibly do so. The Tanakh, Bible, and Qur’ān, however, assure us that God will provide what we need, day by day and sometimes minute by minute: Act out of faith rather than out of fear! (The most frequently repeated message in the Bible is actually “Do not be afraid.”) Our fears will not vanish, but we can live out of our grounding in faith.
We are on a journey in this difficult time. For the Jewish people, Passover was only the beginning of their journey through the wilderness to the Promised Land. For Jesus’ disciples, his passion, death, and Resurrection was also only the beginning of their mission, as difficult times lay ahead. Likewise, for Muhammad the Prophet and the early Muslims, the first Ramadan was only the beginning of receiving Allah’s revelations, as full reception requires discipline and focus.
Our Mission of healing joins us together, and it means more than ever to both caregivers and care receivers. Like people of faith through the ages, we persevere.