COVID-19 has introduced social distancing in our communities around the world. People are not permitted to visit each other’s houses or meet in public places. Local, state and country regulations have to be obeyed. Today the whole idea of relationships has changed. What a world we live in now!
To be safe, we keep a distance from everyone. The young and capable are still able to maintain contact with each other through social media and modern technology but what about those people who have to be in isolation because of their age or health conditions? Yes, I am speaking about vulnerable people and the elderly. Since they are more vulnerable to this disease, they are prohibited from venturing outside.
On the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus, Pope Francis invited young people to make a gesture of tenderness towards the elderly, “especially the most lonely ones in homes and residences, those who have not seen their loved ones for many months.”
The church has always had a communal aspect. It’s our responsibility during this pandemic to reach out to those near to us who are in isolation, through the telephone or through a ‘glass window chat’. Yes, they deserve it. They can’t go out and most of them are not able to reach out to anyone through social media. Many are incapable of using mobile phones as well. In communities around the world, social isolation is keeping the elderly safe from coronavirus, but it is also preventing them from going to church. This is proving extremely difficult for many. We cannot abandon them in these difficult times. If we don’t reach out to them, then who will? It’s our duty to reach out to them and bring a smile to their faces. Speaking after the Angelus, the Pope told young people, “each of these elderly people are your grandparents. Do not leave them alone… they are your roots.”
By Fr Shyju Naduvathaniyil, Beaconsfield, UK