By Cian Molloy - 23 March, 2020
With many in the world describing the Covid-19 epidemic as “apocalyptic”, Bishop Dermot Farrell of Ossory gave a reminder to his faithful on Sunday of what that word truly means.
The Book of the Apocalypse, more commonly known as the Book of Revelations, is the last book of the New Testament and contains prophecies about ‘end times’ and the final battle between good and evil before the coming of the Kingdom of God.
“Properly understood, an apocalyptic view of the world is not a flight from the world, but is a way of coping with the world so that people can take stock of the traumatic situation they find themselves in, make decisions and take appropriate action,” said Bishop Farrell in a Mass broadcast from the KCLR local-radio studios in Kilkenny.
“One thing we cannot take flight from is reality,” said the bishop. “We have to engage with the grim reality of the coronavirus by assiduously observing the social distancing and other measures that have been put in place for our safety and the well-being of others.”
The dangers of the global pandemic are unprecedented, but we must not “wallow in depression”, Bishop Farrell told his listeners, offering them sage advice.
“Today, more than ever, we must see the world as it is. While we do not have an infinite responsibility to be neighbour to the whole country, we cannot in advance know how we will be called upon to respond with prudence and courage. Like the flight attendant’s instructions: ‘Put on your own mask first’, hope – an extraordinary hope – never encourages any kind of disdain for common sense and responsibilities of protecting human life and the common good.”
In the absence of the Eucharist, it is necessary for us now to “rediscover the other ways we have to encounter Christ”, said the bishop, reminding his flock that as Christians we believe that every person is a temple of the Holy Spirit and that the Lord dwells within us.
Bishop Farrell also quoted the director of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “Let our shared humanity be the antidote to our shared threat”.