Written on: April 8, 2020
Each year we wait throughout the Lenten season to hear the Easter “Alleluia” and the glorious ringing of the bells. All the weeks of Lent draw us forward to the celebration of that beautiful day of new life, signifying hope and resurrection.
Often we are uncomfortable with the Holy Week services which are serious and remind us of our sin and failing. Holy Thursday is bittersweet, giving us the immeasurable gift of the Eucharist, but reminding us of what followed in Jesus’ life. During Lent, we are reminded regularly of our need for a change of heart. The liturgies and prayers of Lent remind us that we and the world need transformation. Although we have heard this call for metanoia, we tend to forget it in the joy of the Easter season.
This year is different.
Lenten sacrifice was not of our making. Whatever we had planned to do during the season was mitigated by the sudden and relentless change that accompanied the spread of the Covid 19 virus. Our lives and the lives and routines of those we love turned upside down and we arrived in a situation which was unfamiliar to us. There were no footprints to follow, no blueprint to help us know how long these uncomfortable days would last. We found that we were suffering along with all humankind. The situation in which we found ourselves truly was – and is the message of the Cross. Rarely in our lives have we experienced such a tragic loss and a sense of isolation. Even less frequently have we shared it with a number of other people at the same time. Perhaps never have we shared it with the whole world.
This time is unprecedented. We are deprived of being present during Holy Week services and of entering the Easter liturgy wholeheartedly. We are deprived of being present for the sharing of new light and the ringing of the bells. The joyful sound of a congregation singing ALLELUIA will be real only in our memories.
Perhaps, in a larger way, we will be living the Easter message. We learn, once again, that we are connected with our sisters and brothers throughout the world. Their triumph is ours and their pain is ours, too. The Resurrection and Redemption of Easter will come to save us all gradually, but in a visible way, when the scourge of this virus is behind us. In the hearts of all who believe in Jesus, it must symbolize the less visible mystery and miracle of Easter.
It is a time of decision for each of us. Do we return to our former ways and routine after this crisis is over, or do we step over the threshold with deepened faith and resolute conviction to follow Jesus? How will we emerge from this temporary tomb that we are in?
Let us celebrate Easter in every way we can this year. May we emerge as people convinced of God’s presence in our lives and in our world and disciples eager to live wholeheartedly the magnificent message of Easter!
Sr. Denise Roche, GNSH