Card Tong: Lent in the coronavirus wilderness

In his Lenten Letter, the apostolic administrator of Hong Kong refers to wilderness and temptation in the distrust of people after the battle against the extradition bill. Many acts of selfishness have occurred alongside many acts of “generosity” by those who treat the sick and donate surgical masks and supplies "to those in need". Lent is a "training school”.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – The isolation in which the people of Hong Kong find themselves because of the coronavirus epidemic is akin to the wilderness experience to which Lent invites us, says Card John Tong, apostolic administrator of the diocese, in his Lenten letter.

For the cardinal, Hong Kong has lived in wilderness since last June as a result of the anti-extradition bill and the battles of the pro-democracy movement, which have made people lose confidence, and left them feeling sad and helpless.

Then came the coronavirus outbreak, which has brought life in the territory to a standstill: schools and universities closed, contacts with China and the rest of the world reduced, Masses and religious gatherings cancelled, fear of infection risen, food and medicines in short supply.

Card Tong notes that some people have responded to the current situation by “rushing to buy pharmaceutical items and foodstuffs”. Others have shown “generosity” by treating the sick and donating masks and supplies “to those in need”.

For this reason, the liturgical period that begins today is a "training school" to love “God and our neighbours”.

As we face “the temptation of the wilderness,” writes the cardinal, let us “listen to the Word of God again and again, instead of the inclination of our [own] selfishness”. Thus, “we will be freed from self-centredness, fears, individualism, and mistrust.”

And if “we could put our hope in the love of the Father,” the Holy Spirit “will also inspire us to transform the desert of our lives into an oasis of living and enjoying peace; to accompany us and open a new chapter in our resurrected life.”