By Craig Stevenson

As I reflect on COVID-19 and its impact on our lives over the last 2-3 weeks, my eyes are continually being shown the opportunities (or this circumstance) that makes it possible to do something…different. I’m reminded of the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 30-37).

The Samaritan was living his normal life and an opportunity arose. Unlike the priest or a temple assistant, the Samaritan seized on the opportunity. The opportunity to help the Jewish man came at a cost: time, supplies, money, and risk of a social stigma. He still chose to take the opportunity.

COVID-19 has given us the circumstances to do things differently, just like the Samaritan. I encourage you to take advantage of them. I’ve taken the opportunity and video-chatted with family members whom I hadn’t seen for a long time. I’ve begun throwing away some of the clutter in my house. I have gratitude for those who are helping others and potentially exposing themselves and loved ones to the virus. Working to show mercy, I have shared posts on social media in which I hope brings a smile and joy to others.

The virus has also given us the opportunity to be the like the priest and temple assistant and show the dark side of humanity. We hear stories of those who are hoarding goods, congregating in larger groups of 10, spreading inaccurate information, or not showing compassion to those who are lonely during this time.

There’s a glaring difference in the Samaritan story and our lives: We didn’t choose to live the “COVID-19 life” of stay-at-home orders or the risk of contracting or spreading it. In some ways, the beauty of this opportunity in our lives is that as we rang-in the New Year, we didn’t see it coming. That said, when the Samaritan woke up on that day to walk outside of Jerusalem, I doubt he realized the opportunity he would be facing and perhaps didn’t realize how he would be compelled to respond in the moment.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan is full of what our brothers and sisters, and maybe even you, are feeling in this time: fear, sadness, tepidness, distanced, and the chance to respond to do something new, different, and good. The order that Jesus gives the disciples of this is clear: “Go and do the same” as the Samaritan did. The Holy Spirit is with us and giving us the opportunity to respond to the circumstances set before us in a way that Jesus would want us to do. Let’s do it, together, as the Church.

How are you using COVID-19 as an opportunity to create change in your life?