This is written for submission fourteen days before it will be published. What a significance that number of days has become for us and for our global community. We have only to look across The Pond to see where we will be two weeks from the day you read this. Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. It is something many of us have never seen, many are not now seeing, and many will not see.
“See you on the other side” is a phrase I have seen in print among the Tweets I follow in my attempt to understand from the epidemiologists, immunologists, historians and others who analyze factual data in my quest to confront FEAR, which I see as False Evidence Appearing Real. The ambiguity of whether the phrase pertains to the other side of this crisis or the other side of a transformed life; yes, even a resurrected life does not escape me. However, for me having knowledge of what is ahead allays fear. Both the angel [28: 5] and Jesus [28: 10] say, “Do not be afraid,” then they follow up with information as to what is ahead of the listener. So, it is with the Gospel readings of this day. The followers are told what lay ahead.
In the Gospel of the Procession, “... you will find an ass tethered ...” and instructions as to where to go and what to do. Throughout the Passion Jesus is telling his people what to do, who will do what, and what is to come. A drama unfolds. Certainly, I jumped ahead to Easter in the preceding paragraph, but the conclusion of that drama is important to me in the passion in which we are today involved. I quote from the Gospel reflection offered in Living Liturgy,
“There is a mob mentality at work and it should give us pause, not only for what happened in Jesus’ day but for how such actions continue today. False testimony, deceit, betrayal, even physical force and violence leading to death are prominently on display. The crowd, humanity itself, is only too eager to believe the worst, to mock, taunt, scourge, and kill the incarnation of love itself ... The response demanded by God of humans is faith. When faced with deceit, lies, violence, and death, God has another way, and we are invited to enter into this new way of life.”
In the unprecedented absence of an Easter Vigil, we pray especially for our Elect, whose initiation has been delayed, yet are invited into this new way of life in Baptism. May our faith lived out exemplify this new life to them.
I sense The Way of the Cross will be unprecedented for us even beyond Easter. May the LORD be present in our kindness and compassion. May we all be Cyrenians and live out the Corporal and Spiritual works of mercy. May we heed and give credence to the experts in the areas of health, safety, and security of our collective well-being.
Pray for Father Patrick, all spiritual and civic leaders that they convey a global community, compassion, humility and hope. Pray for those who put themselves at risk for the sake of our health and security. Pray for the sick and dying we know and those no longer strangers due to our common suffering. Pray for those who have died before us. Continue to love one another as Jesus loved.