It was really strange to start Holy Week not going to Palm Sunday Mass and stranger still, will be staying at home during the great Triduum, the Easter Liturgies. Liturgy actually means a public act of worship however, the Covid19 world of today prevents us from celebrating together in our parishes.
This week, Holy Week, reminds us of that final week of our Lord’s life before his suffering and death on Good Friday. Many of us are seeing suffering first hand and our students are, at least on the media, seeing suffering and death on a scale that they are unused to, due to the virus. In fact, people are saying that not since WWII have we seen our country like it is.
The Gospel of 29th March told us about the 'The Raising of Lazarus.' This seemed to resonate with communities more than it has before. In the Gospel, Our Lord sees Martha in the cemetery mourning at the tomb of her brother, Lazarus. Jesus, moved by her grief, commands the community to take away the stone from the tomb. You can imagine Martha’s surprise. He asks whether she believes in him? “Yes” she answers. Jesus said to her and in doing so, said to all of us here in these difficult times, that ‘I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live and everyone who lives and believes in me, will never die. (Jn 11:25)
Martha stands in our place before Jesus, confronted with suffering and disbelief however, she understood him as the one who saves and believed in the resurrection. That is what Easter is all about. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The one who saves, who destroys death and restores us to eternal life. Even though we cannot celebrate the great liturgies of Easter together in our parishes, my prayer for us all is that we keep the faith of Martha.
So whichever way you are celebrating, I wish you all a very Happy Easter and hope that before too long we can all say together, 'Alleluia.'
Most Holy Mary, the mother of the Risen One, help us in these difficult times, give us the grace to look towards and live the light of this extraordinary reality – the promise of the Resurrection in Christ. Amen.