If you awoke this morning with the power to solve the global COVID-19 pandemic, I just know you’d go right out and do it. You’d barely stop for a breakfast at Bay Family or a cup of coffee or tea from Crystal Coffee, just thinking of those needy millions depending on you in their suffering. You would use this power even if it involved sacrifice and difficulty because you’re a good person. You care about your fellow human beings. You feel compassion. Your heart works.
The funny thing is that, in fact, we do have the power to end this pandemic. What we don’t have is the will—that is, the personal or political will—to get behind the policies that would make it happen. While as individuals we’re well-meaning and kind, in the realm of public policy, we’re self-protecting, self-serving, and self-absorbed. Our hearts may work. But we’re also scared of the cost of caring.
When we think about doing justice, we often think about giving of our surplus because that doesn’t affect how we live our day to day lives. That solution works fine, so long as we’re not unduly affected or we don’t have to give up too much. But what if we actually have to sacrifice for others? What if we actually have to get out of our comfort zone? If that’s the case, are we still willing to work for justice? This is the conversation we don’t want to have about justice: that it will cost some of us the lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to. We could solve the COVID-19 pandemic if we dared. But what kind of miracle would it take to get you and me to make the sacrifice?
Reflection Question. To what extent are you and I willing to sacrifice so that this pandemic can end? St. Mother Teresa used to say: "Live simply so that others may simply live." Are you up to the challenge?