The novel coronavirus intruded into human space in 2019 (hence the abbreviation Covid-19), but the threat that it was became truly alarmingly apparent only in 2020. It was this year that changed the course of human history in many ways.
This brief weblog post is not so much about the coronavirus itself or how selfish politicians are mismanaging the circumstances. It is rather about how pitiable grassroots people like us can still HOPE and WORK to inject goodness into our own lives and the lives of others despite the misfortunes the year has inflicted upon us.
At the end of each calendar year, I make it a point to list down the fruits that my life has produced during the year that is ending. It is not an assessment of how efficient my life has been or how many new feathers I have added to my cap. If anything, the pandemic year that has been has taught me that achievements count for nothing in this life if there are many people around me who are struggling to simply make a decent living.
My "key performance index", if you like, is about how much goodness I have strived to bring into the lives of others in our human society. Right at the outset of the pandemic, I had made a choice to not allow myself to assume the role of a policeman by judging how little other people are doing to respond to the current situation confronting humanity. I resolved to focus on putting all my effort into actually doing something myself -- anything -- that might be helpful to ease the sufferings of others and to help others find hope amidst their trials.
With a deeply grateful heart, I acknowledge that the Lord has kindly showered His favour upon my efforts throughout the year, resulting in the blessedness of the endeavours below. All this work has been done in addition to (not in place of) my usual official duties inherent to my vocation as a deacon, such as assisting at Eucharistic celebrations, parish catechetical ministry, pastoral home and hospital visits, as well as pastoral care over those other communities put under my charge:
1) MISSION TRIP TO NORTHEAST INDIA
2) RUNNING TWO PILGRIMAGES FOR 2020
3) PUBLICATION OF THREE E-BOOKLETS
4) GIVING FORMATION TALKS ON ZOOM
5) LAUNCHING INTO E-LEARNING
6) ESTABLISHING A THEOLOGICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE
7) EDITING AND PUBLISHING A BOOK
Of course, all this work is never attributed to the efforts and energies of one man alone. I am surrounded by an incredibly loving community of family members, companions, and friends who exude an unbelievable magnitude of energy and compassion for others. It is they who have synergised their efforts and intelligence with mine to emerge with these outbursts of goodness for the Church and larger society.
If anyone asks me, I would certainly say the year could have been better. But I would not say that the year has been wasted. Much goodness has come out of it, and much has been achieved by those who, like me, refused to allow the year to be characterised by bewilderment and idleness. Even in the midst of a pandemic such as this, we can continue working hard to communicate life to the world.
The above projects that I have embarked on throughout this year are by no means the only things that have kept me busy. They account for only about a third of the work that occupies me routinely. As a teacher, preacher, theologian, and pastoral worker, I have spent many, many hours in study, research, writing, preparation, conversations, hosting visitors, conducting meetings, doing administrative work, and a host of other unspoken and unenviable tasks. I do all this with deep joy, always staying true to the principle "what must be done, must be done!"
I am happy with all that I have been privileged to achieve this year, inspired and strengthened by the Holy Spirit and aided by friends and comrades. Next year may or may not be an easier year. Either way, I am resolved to step into 2021 with the same desire and determination to work for the glory of God and the good of my neighbours. I wish all of you a blessed 2021, and assure you that my daily prayers will accompany you throughout the year.