This moving meditation by Joni Zavitsanos on the devastation the coronavirus wrought among the incarcerated challenges each of us to consider the question "Who is my neighbor," and calls us to redouble our efforts to heed the Lord's sacred call to love one another. Joni Zavitsanos is an accomplished artist, and was the featured speaker during the Archon Weekend Agape Luncheon in 2019. She is the wife of National Council Member John Zavitsanos.
COVID IN THE PRISONS: THE UNGRIEVABLE NEIGHBOR
by Joni Zavitsanos
“Who is my neighbor?” This question, posed coyly by a slick lawyer looking for an easy answer, is most poetically answered by Christ in his parable of the Good Samaritan. The story involves a man who is robbed, beaten, and left for dead by the side of the road. Many supposed noblemen pass by and offer no help, while a foreign stranger of an offbeat faith comes to the man’s aid with great compassion and becomes the silent hero of the day. The Good Samaritan was insightful in its Biblical time, but I also find the story to be most relevant now in our post-pandemic world.
It has been over a year now since I began working on a tribute art piece honoring lives lost in the Houston, Texas area due to Covid-19. I’ve combed through obituaries, news articles, TV programs, and have spent literally thousands of hours trying to place a name and a face to the over 7,000 deaths that have occurred just in and around my own city. So many stories have come out of this project—the loneliness, isolation, separation of families, the inability to properly grieve and bury loved ones, the mental strain—so much sadness.