Since the emergence of the Corona virus and its escalation to pandemic status, the question has been floated; ‘Is this God’s wrath?’ No mainstream religious leader has come forward and identified this virus as God’s wrath unleashed on the world. However, some of the faithful are asking the question. When God sent Moses to demand the release of the Israelites, Pharaoh became stubborn. Under no circumstances would he allow the Israelites to leave Egypt. Moses warned him of the consequences of his decision, but Pharaoh was unrelenting. God then sent ten plagues upon the Egyptians, each one worse than the previous. After the tenth plague, the death of the first born, Pharaoh relented.
When God became angry with the Israelites during their Exodus, he sent snakes among the people. Many were bitten and died. God instructed Moses to craft a bronze snake and mount it on a pole. Whoever looked upon it recovered. God sent the prophet Jonah to the Ninevites with the message, “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed”. At the preaching of Jonah, the people of Nineveh repented, and God turned away His wrath. The Old Testament gives us many more examples of God’s anger followed by His forgiveness. But those were the Egyptians, the Israelites, and the Ninevites. What does that have to do with us?
The question we face; ‘Is God angry with the world today?’ Well let’s look at our world today: We have wars and killing in the Middle East and elsewhere in the name of God. There are drug wars, kidnappings, and violence south of our border. Women and children are being sold into sex slavery throughout the world. Each weekend in Chicago and other metropolitan areas there are gang shootings with innocent people getting caught in the crossfire. In New York, the legislature passed a bill allowing abortion up to the moment of birth. The Catholic governor signed that bill into law. Is God angry with the state of the world today? Would you blame God for being angry?
The Father sent Jesus into the world to reveal to us a God of mercy and compassion. The parables show us that God is slow to anger and rich in kindness. The parable of the Prodigal Son reveals a God who is patient, understanding, and forgiving. Yes, our world is a mess, but God knows we can change for the better. As Catholics, we believe in the Sacrament of Reconciliation which restores us to Baptismal grace. When we fail to live up to our Christian faith, we can be forgiven and given another chance to do good.
This current crisis is an opportunity for us to examine our lives and identify what areas we need to change. This is the time to realign our priorities and focus on what is most important in life and in our faith. God loves us and has plans for our lives. Remember, God is not finished with us. He sees the goodness in us that the darkness of this world blinds us from seeing. Patience people, this too shall pass.
Rev. Ron Neitzke