It has taken some time, but I am finally experiencing the fruits of this quarantine. A dear friend of mine sent me an email echoing the current emotions I am embracing while being isolated. The email basically broke down the meaning of the word “quarantine.” It comes from the Latin root for “forty.” In the Bible, there is a theme that involves repeated use of the number 40:
The Great Flood lasted 40 days.
Moses left Egypt for 40 days.
Moses spent 40 days on Mt. Sinai to receive the 10 Commandments.
The Exodus was 40 days.
Jesus fasted for 40 days.
Lent is 40 days.
Whenever the number 40 appears, it is normally followed by great change. Ever since Easter Sunday, I have been feeling the Lord’s presence, and that He is at work in this world and in the hearts of His people. I do believe God is going to change this world, and for the better. Even amid all the negative news that fills the headlines, the belief continues to dwell in my mind, and the negativity cannot enter my heart, because it has been filled with the Holy Spirit.
Pope Francis referenced the days following the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and how His disciples were “filled with joy.” Joy is a gift from the Holy Spirit; therefore, you cannot have joy without the Holy Spirit. In these uncertain times, there is one guarantee — Jesus Christ has risen and He has set us free.
It is remarkable how Scripture passages have taken on new meaning during these times, because essentially the way we are living is parallel to how the disciples lived after the Resurrection. We have isolated ourselves in our houses; we are fearful and scared of what the future might bring, just as the disciples were. Jesus came to them and opened up their hearts, so that they might understand the Scriptures and go out and proclaim the Good News. In our present time, it is more important than ever to hold onto the promise of salvation and share it with our brothers and sisters.
The world is changing, and there is sadness, disease, despair, poverty and death more prevalent than ever, but not even death can keep us from receiving and expressing the joy of the Holy Spirit. I do not think the world will be the same after this pandemic ends, but that is not necessarily bad. Each day I see beautiful transformations; people are staying home with their families; people are praying every day; people are finding the Lord.
We are in the year 2020, and 20+20=40. God is doing great work among us; we just need to keep our eyes fixed on Him and trust. I know that Jesus Christ has risen and is walking among us, as He did so many years ago. I am reading the Gospels and applying them to the lives we are living right now. I am in the fishing boat with the disciples and have seen Christ on the shore. Jesus Christ is calling to me and I must go to Him. This is a time more than ever before when our faith in the Lord can allow us to walk on water.