Understanding Compassion at times of Plague

 Moanaro Imchen

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few- or the one.” This famous dialogue exchanged between Captain Kirk and Spock in the second Star Trek movie “The Wrath of Khan” is very apt to the situation facing not only India but the world-at-large. An enemy one cannot readily see threatens our lives. Decisions must be made and actions must be undertaken to protect everyone.


The elderly, the weak, and the infirmed are most vulnerable to the Coronavirus. Close contact with others carries the greatest risk of spreading the virus and contracting the illness. 


Restricting movement of the masses, and compelling businesses, organizations and churches to cease social gatherings is the most prudent of decisions at this time. It is necessary, albeit not exactly a popular decision. This is indeed a moment in our country’s history to put the ‘needs of the many’ ahead of the needs of the few or our own needs.


The Bible shows that there are two great commandments. The first is to love God with all our being. The second commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves.


Like it or not, many people are self-concerned and self-informed. Some are very concerned and worried about how any restrictions will impact their businesses. As we read or hear reports from around the globe, we know full well that this enemy has caused great financial difficulty and hardship.


At this time, many people might find the temptation to be more concerned for themselves and their own concerns than for their community and the nation. Their motto seems to be: “After me you come first!” Again, to be exact, not commendable behavior. But, time does bring humanity to situations such as this. 


In the face of this worldwide pandemic, how we conduct ourselves as a nation and as individuals will speak volumes to our children, and to history of the kind of people we are. As our own Dr. Sukhraj Dhillon, F Univ Prof Molecular Biology & Genetic Engineer and author of  'Alternative Health Solutions' observed: “Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does.” Yes, most certainly, many hardships may lay ahead for us. But as the old adage goes: “There is nothing as certain as change.” 


The Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, is the best example of being compassionate to others. Jesus narrates the story of a man travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho. He was attacked by bandits and thieves, beaten and his belongings were taken away leaving him helpless. A priest passed by yet, he did nothing and passed by the other direction. Then a Levite passed by. However, he too walked the opposite direction leaving the wounded man lying down helplessly. But a Samaritan who too was travelling through the same direction saw the injured man and his heart was filled with love and compassion. He stopped and without any further queries, he helped the man.


We must look to each other, as well as our Lord in Heaven for help and guidance in the difficult times that face us. Human life, and the health and welfare of our fellow citizens must be of paramount importance even in the face of economic hardships and the enforcement of rules and laws regulating social movement and gatherings. If we can stand together, if we look out for another, if we can endure the darkness with an eye to the light at the end of the tunnel, we shall all come out of this a better people, and a better nation.


Do remember though, God is watching us, and I for one do not want to disappoint Him. This is His moment to shine, to demonstrate how we do embrace His teachings, and we do subscribe to His admonition to always be a good and caring neighbor and friend. He is there for us in good and bad times. And we should turn to Him in both.


Leroy Satchel Paige, who was an American major league baseball pitcher. He enjoyed a long career despite being a black in a predominantly white society of those years. Paige understood adversity and hardship firsthand. But most of all, he understood the importance of God in his life and to a large extend redefined our relationship with God. 


He said, “Never let your head down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way. And don’t pray when the sun shines.” Therefore, just as a sunrise doesn’t last all day, so too, this COVID-19 problem will also come to an eventual end. But the adversity we face, and the alacrity it demands of us to get through this and still take care of the sick and elderly, will be a test of our mettle as a people.


Mark 25:40 tells us: “Verily I say unto you, in as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these brethren, ye have done it unto me.” This is not a time to look the other way unconcerned with those most susceptible to the COVID- 19. We must help everyone.


Years from now, we will all look back on these days and recall things quite differently. Time will have put a different spin on things. We must take heart in the knowledge God is with us, watching over us, and hoping mankind’s better and may God bless us all amidst all this turbulence.