Mentioned 146 times in Scripture, the number 40 generally symbolises a period of testing and trial and is not accurate in terms of actual duration.
You will no doubt remember that the flood lasted forty days, Moses fled Egypt for forty years, forty days Moses stayed on Mount Sinai to receive the Commandments, our Lord fasted forty days etc.
Theologians suggest that the number forty represents change, it is a time of preparing a person or people to make a fundamental change.
With the Coronavirus we are all, throughout the world, in a period of testing and of change. However, during this time, the rivers are becoming cleaner, vegetation is growing, the air is less polluted and there is less crime in society.
On Wednesday the 22nd April we celebrated Earth Day which is a global event organised every year, when the organisers select a particular theme to attract the attention of the global public. This year the theme was the most challenging environmental issue i.e. Climate Action.
As an aside, a news cast recently announced that drug trafficking in Asia is nearly eradicated because of the restrictions on people movement!
I am not for a moment saying that the current situation is a blessing in disguise, but with all of the news of deaths and isolation, we have to look for positive aspects of our present predicament.
So, during this time, take the opportunity to become closer to your loved ones in which ever way is safe and possible. Family prayer is a blessing, and the knowledge that you are praying for your loved ones and they are praying for you can be a source of great comfort.
May these days of quarantine, (the Latin root of the word is forty) bring spiritual liberation to us, our nation and to the world.
With my prayers and blessings