A Pro-vaccine Parable
“Having seen this up close and personal, I’d encourage ALL of you to put politics and other concerns aside and get it,” posted Mark Valentine on Facebook about the COVID-19 vaccine. He added that his brother Phil’s fight for his life “has persuaded me to go get vaccinated when I was previously not inclined to do so.”
Phil Valentine, a conservative radio talk-show host at WWTN in Nashville, now regrets he wasn’t a more vocal vaccine advocate after being hospitalized in serious condition with COVID-19 in July. In early August, my deadline for this edition of Liguorian, Mark Valentine said his brother was stable and his condition had “slightly improved. We haven’t turned the corner to recovery yet.”
His brother intends to be the “most pro-vaccine person you’ve ever seen” when he returns to the air, Mark announced. “When he gets back to the microphone, he’s going to tell you in his own words, but he regrets not being more vehemently and adamantly pro-vaccine.”
While Mark insisted Phil had not been anti-vax, “He got this one wrong.” Regardless, members of the Valentine family are to be commended for supporting Phil unconditionally and for using their public platform to encourage others to take precautions.
To that end, consider what may be deemed a pro-vaccine parable based on Luke 16:19–31, which the New American Bible, Revised Edition titles “The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.”
Once there was a radio host who, in discussing COVID-19, spread hyper-political vaccine-hesitant opinions and waxed luxuriously against the vaccine in every way. Among his followers lay a vax denier, named Lazarus on social media, who was infected with the disease. Lazarus always yearned to hear the vaccine conspiracy theories that fell from the talk-show host’s lips.
In time, Lazarus the vax denier died of complications from the disease. Angels carried him to the bosom of Abraham. Meanwhile, the talk-show host nearly died of the same illness. From his hospital bed in intensive care, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off, with Lazarus resting in his bosom.
He called out, “Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to my aid, for my doctor says it is too late now to administer the vaccine.” “My child,” replied Abraham, “remember that you were fortunate in your lifetime to have been given an effective combat against the coronavirus.”
“Father,” the radio host said, “then I ask you to send him to my father’s house to see my five brothers. Let him be a warning to them so they may not end in this condition of agony.” Abraham answered, “They have health-care professionals. Let them hear them.” “Oh no, Father Abraham,” replied the radio host. “But if someone would only go to them from the dead, then they would reconsider.” Abraham said to him, “If they do not listen to sensible voices, they will not be convinced even if one should return from the dead to tell them what to do.”
And lo! It came to pass that the health of the talk-show host began to improve, and he was no longer what God once referred to the Israelites as “stiff-necked” in opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine. During his brother’s recovery, a sibling of the reformed radio host proclaimed, “After my brother is released from the critical-care unit, he looks forward to being more ‘pro-vaccine’ as soon as he is back on the air. Please go get vaccinated!”