Death has been knocking on our doors a lot lately.
Personally, it seems like death is trying to drown me
I “celebrated” the twelfth anniversary of my mom’s passing recently. On that same day, my favorite author and illustrator, Tomie dePaola died. Only a couple days after that, my uncle (my mom’s brother) died from complications from COVID-19, alone, separated from his family. My best friend’s father found out he has acute myeloid leukemia. My baby’s baptism is postponed, as is my other daughter’s First Communion.
We are all confined to our homes and those that do go out and serve on the frontlines in hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and others face ginormous risk every time they do. Young and old alike are dying from COVID-19. There are eerie pictures of big cities, like Los Angeles, with nary a car in sight.
The world has become so barren. We are all hidden in the dirt, away from the sunlight, awaiting our time to bloom.
It is still Good Friday
In a way that we’ve not seen in our lifetime, our whole world is reflecting the tragedy of Good Friday. The day Christ, God, died, the world became barren and empty. Jesus Himself shouted in agony from the Cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He knew the agony of being separated from God.
We, too, feel this agony. Not in being unable to directly receive the sacraments, though that does rightly cause anguish (Did you know that even if only one mass was said each day in the world, we would still profit from the graces of that sacrifice? That each mass is always offered for all of us whether or not we’re in attendance?). But in the agony of unknowing– not knowing when this plague will end, not knowing if we or loved ones will make it through, not knowing when we will be together again, not knowing if things will ever go back to “normal”.
Our old lives have died and gone away. Things will never be “normal” again. That life is dead. Even if we do regain a sense of normalcy when the danger has passed, the way we think, view the world, and act will be forever changed. Hopefully for the good. Hopefully we will care more for each other and the common good and make societal changes to uplift that. Hopefully.
Hopefully He will rise.
Stew in the agony
When I was a Catechetics student at Franciscan University of Stuebenville, one professor (Sr. M. Johanna) said something about teaching Good Friday that has permeated my personal life: On Good Friday, let them think there is no hope. Let them stew in that.
Good Friday is the day when we reflect on death and the evils of sin. We reflect on the evils of talking past each other and throwing each other under the bus and putting ourselves before all else and before God. Sin is what separates us from God, not limited access to the sacraments. Sin is what Jesus carried to Golgotha and what made Him feel the agony of separation from God. Sin.
Sit with that, stew in it, repent.
It is dark in the womb of the Earth. But we have hope that we will rise.
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