October 11, 2020
By Sister Pauline Gunda
Recently I talked with my little niece Clare, who is 10 years old, and she asked me, “How many do you have?” At first, I did not understand what she was referring to, but then she said, “Here in Kenya, we have xx COVID cases.” I was stunned at the depth to which this pandemic is occupying the minds of all, even innocent children. Later, when I contemplated the paradox of the surging hope I have observed in some places even amid a surging number of infections, it occurred to me that such positive thinking is only possible in people who are able to see and hear hope unfolding around them—or who have learned to do so.
The Israelites’ Exilic period of dislocation from their land, their temple and from all their other treasured heritages is not unlike the reality of our diminished lives today. Israel experienced a deep, sad despondency over the loss of their everyday, well-ordered lives. We too, although we may not be physically uprooted, observe how our normal order of life has changed. We find ourselves in an uncertain phase of existence, trying to figure out in which direction we should “steer the wheels” of our lives.
At such a juncture as this, however, we can borrow a leaf from the prophet Jeremiah’s words to the Israelites. He enjoined them to “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce” (Jer. 29:5). Jeremiah gives us a moment of hope. Building houses and living in them, from my perspective, can be like reviving a dwindling light in an endangered world.Read More