December 1, 2022
Today is World AIDS Day. At one time, HIV/AIDS dominated our lives and our thinking and our reality in a way that foreshadowed the covid pandemic. Some who are older may remember. We worried about shaking hands. About sharing drinks. About using the bathroom. Because someway, somehow, we might catch it. Life was no longer safe. And there was no vaccination. No booster. And very little treatment available. Think about the beginning of covid. The onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic was a little like that.
And in this country, the HIV/AIDS epidemic was associated with homosexuality which is in part why there was so little attention and money directed to prevention, treatment, and cure. And the disease was associated with Haiti and Africa. Did we really need to worry about all those people who were already considered ‘less than’? If HIV/AIDS had slammed well-off white heterosexual men, it would have been a completely different scenario.
And today, HIV/AIDS continues to devastate lives and communities. The numbers are on the rise in the Black community in St. Petersburg. We are not yet done with AIDS just like we are not done with covid.
In awful, devastating circumstances like the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the covid pandemic, we see the Christ made manifest. We see Divine Love embodied in people who help those who are sick. Who advocate for fair treatment of all. Who help to overcome financial obstacles that prevent people getting needed medical treatment. In the AIDS epidemic, as in covid, we saw the flowering of compassion and generosity and community.
No matter the mess we make of things, Divine Love, is made manifest in humanity. Christ never forsakes us. Never abandons us. Never leaves us bereft.
In these days of Advent as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ Jesus, may we seek signs of the eternal love that never forsakes beloved humanity. May we be signs of the eternal love that never forsakes humanity. Amen.