I quote Bishop Larry Duffy, one of our Irish Bishops, in his letter to the people of the Diocese of Clogher, when he says: ‘This year, I think Holy Saturday best captures the mood and prayer of people. An ancient homily found in the Office of Readings asks: “What is happening? On this day there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence and stillness, a great silence because our King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still because God slept in the flesh.” We wait and pray like Mary and the women at the grave, never losing hope in God’s love. The Gospel reading at the Easter Vigil this year is from Matthew. Just like in his account of the Passion last Sunday, Matthew vividly places before us the power of God’s actions, of great earthquakes accompanying seismic moments in time. And through it all, the women are told not to be afraid; to seek the Risen Christ, the One they are looking for. This Easter we are being challenged in many ways. But among the challenges there is one that as people of faith, people of hope and people of love, we cannot ignore. It is the challenge to find Christ in all that we do, in all the circumstances of life’s journey. Yes, Christ, Crucified and Risen, is with us”.
Yes, it has been a strange Holy Week. Whereas in other years we come to Church to the Holy Week ceremonies, this year we stay at home and watch them on television or listen on radio. Many of us have been cocooning, children and young people studying at home, and missing their friends. Homes are being painted, gardens tended, and we listen to the bird song and have been watching the beautiful phases of the moon. A quote from poet Seamus Heaney from 1972 has been widely used. He said, ‘If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere.’ “It came,” Heaney said, “from memories of cattle in winter fields. Beasts standing under a hedge, plastered in wet, looking at you with big patient eyes, just taking what came until something else came along. Times were bleak, the political climate was deteriorating. The quote showed a sense of reality, and an engagement with the world around him but with a sense of hope, even if it is tempered by realism.”
Perhaps that sums up where we are these times. Our sense of hope must be nurtured. We can manage the virus, if we do it together. We do it for one another. Please keep at it. We think of those who are ill, and their families. We think too of those who have become unemployed. A word of thanks to our experts, our hospital staffs, our good neighbours, our Gardai and undertakers, our people who continue to open the shops to provide essential supplies, those who do the shopping for us cocooners. Thanks too for embracing the disciplines that we need to keep the coronavirus at bay. Let’s look forward to the Summer, but let’s live in the present. This is a wonderful time to appreciate the present – God’s gift to us. So, whereas Easter Eggs may be scarce, we have and can feel and appreciate each day, and each person. Put some shape on each day. Make a few phone calls to people who might appreciate a call. Don’t spend all day listening to news reports. Laugh. Don’t forget a time for prayer, whether mindfulness or
meditation or whatever.
Have a HAPPY EASTER 2020.