Isn’t it strange that this, the holiest week of the year for the Church, is going to be celebrated in an almost “unnoticed” manner, in relative obscurity? I don’t know whether this has ever been the case since the time that the first disciples came to celebrate the Lord’s rising from the dead? I don’t know how you feel about that, but perhaps weird isn’t sufficiently descriptive? As you’ll know, Easter is the busiest time of the year for the Church and normally for us as priests – it being the highpoint of the Church’s liturgical celebrations – but it feels the opposite, it feels a bit empty this time round.
This makes me think immediately of the “disappointment” that Our Lord’s disciples must have felt during this week, on Good Friday in particular, when it seemed that all their hopes and dreams were dashed with Our Lord’s crucifixion. They must have felt totally deflated, amongst other things, petrified too, perhaps, fearing for their own lives as His associates… and here we are, probably feeling disappointed at the lack of our normal Holy Week Services and fearful of our lives, to some extent, and the lives of our loved ones because of the current health crisis.
This week has its ups and owns, just as life does – the high of the Last Supper, the lows and desolation of Good Friday and Holy Saturday morning, and then the glorious and awesome events of Easter Sunday. This mystery is replicated in some extent in the lives of each of the members of Christ’s Body, the Church. Where He has gone we are to follow, and this means through suffering, and death to the Resurrection.
If we are to follow the Easter Mysteries and to live the Easter Mysteries we are called both to embrace the cross, or crosses, in our lives, and to look forward with certain hope to the fulfilment of the promises of the Lord, so that where now we are sharing in His Passion we can be confident of, in the future, sharing in His glory. The current world situation, this pandemic, has highlighted the truth of this for every Christian, and it will, perhaps help us to be even more focussed than we normally are in this Holy Week. The Mysteries of this Week form the greatest hope of all humanity – for salvation and forgiveness, for healing and wholeness, for deliverance from evil and the blessings of God’s goodness. Our hope and our salvation has been purchased at that very great price – the price of the Precious Blood of the Lamb of God, God’s only Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is with us, and He calls us to travel with Him, to keep Him company this week, as He draws us with Him through suffering to glory.
God bless you all, and keep you holy and healthy, have a blessed Holy Week!