Nine years have passed since the Syrian conflict began, since the optimism of the 2011 Arab Spring turned into tragedy. For Syria, it all began on March 15 of that year, when protesters took to the streets in Daraa, in the southwest of the country. Soon protests – mostly peaceful – spread throughout the country, demanding an end to the 40-year rule of the Assad family.
The churches are open for private prayer, and public Masses will soon resume. But for many Catholics, the lockdown has taught them new ways of living their faith. This week, for the first time in months, Catholics in England ventured across the threshold of their churches. It was really only a tiptoe, a peek around the door after months of being locked out.
The solemn exclamation with which today’s Gospel begins is one of the few prayers of Jesus reported in the Gospels: “Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I praise you because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to simple people” (v. 25). The wise and the intelligent are often mentioned together in the Bible and, many times, in a pejorative sense. They are those who profess themselves as devout researchers of wisdom. They even think of having a monopoly on it. In fact, they rack with folly and revel with vain discussions.
In the dramatic health situation that is upsetting our current historical situation, reflections on the theme of leprosy in Sacred Scripture can perhaps help us to deal with the threatening contagion of Covid-19 from the always therapeutic perspective of salvation history.