In these times of the corona virus people are experiencing grief in many forms. Social distancing has kept us from loved ones and social circles. Life has changed on all levels and people are searching for meaning. You hear more timeless questions being asked, especially as we experience Holy Week this year as never before.
There seems to be a dance between hope and anxiety. We search our hearts as we contemplate the meaning of love, suffering, forgiveness, redemption, death and resurrection. Underneath all this searching in our hearts is the hope that good will prevail, that healing will happen, that this virus will be contained, and that our desired hopes will be realized.
Holy Week, with its beloved mysteries and rituals of the Triduum, will be very different for people of all faiths. I, for one, will miss celebrating with my parish pries and faith community the Holy Thursday Mass, washing of the feet, and Eucharist. Being together with others for Good Friday’s reading of the Passion and reverencing the cross will be done individually or only through live streaming services. The great Easter Vigil service, a darkened church becoming bright with candle lights, renewing of baptismal promises, bells and alleluias resounding will not be heard. Yet we know and trust that the Risen Lord is with us. The Paschal Mystery continues to take place in life, every day, in every way in people’s lives and hearts. Perhaps God is asking us to see with new eyes both the suffering and the resurrection. We are being invited to remember from our past that God has never forsaken us. God is with us in this time and in these moments.
The Scripture passage I often turn to in times such as these is Jeremiah 29:11-13. “I have plans for your welfare, not for woe, plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call to me, I will hear you, and I will change your life.”
So, as we embrace the changes in our world reality, let us dig down deep for hope. God has promised us plans for our welfare. May we hear those comforting words, trust them with every fiber of our being, and believe that Providence plants HOPE in our spirit always!
Happy Holy Week!
Barbara McMullen, CDP