With the COVID-19 virus seemingly taking over the world, these are dark times. We huddle in our homes, if we are fortunate enough to have one. We mask our faces and scrub our hands raw. We are fed the statistics of those who contract the virus, those who have been hospitalized, and those who have died daily. We’re scared and each bit of news seems more grim than the previous sound bite. Has there ever been a more bleak time in history?
This week is Holy Week–a commemoration of the time from Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, with palms spread before him with cries of “Hosanna to the King!” to his arrest and torturous death. From 3pm on Friday until finding the empty tomb on Sunday morning, the world was without its savior. The sky darkened, the earth quaked, and the veil of the temple was torn in two.
His closest friends were shocked, sorrowful, and frightened to their core. Regardless of what Jesus taught, they could not see the coming resurrection. There was nothing but fear and darkness as they huddled in the upper room. Whether social distancing or hiding, those who lived with, learned from, and loved Jesus were now in utter disarray.
Yet goodness didn’t die.
Those brave enough to have followed him to Golgotha and stood at the foot of the cross did so in mournful prayer. And after his death, their goodness gave off the light of Jesus’ teaching in a simple, everyday gesture–they requested he be given a proper burial. Those familiar with the Corporal Works of Mercy will know that this is among those works. They laid him a tomb that one of his disciples had hewn himself. They anointed Jesus’ body with oils and wrapped him in burial cloths. They consoled each other and prayed over Jesus with Psalms of sorrow and of hope and of praise to God. In his death, they returned to him the love he showed them during his life on earth.
Love is our light.
Even now, especially now, with our social distancing, our call to love others is paramount to our love for the Lord. This is our necessary response in this time of darkness. And I see anecdotal information on the news and on internet showing how this is taking place. There are stories of neighbors having “parties” with each remaining in their own driveways. There are pictures of people visiting the elderly, chatting through doorways and windows. There are donations to food shelves and volunteers to help distribute food. There are those in grocery stores and the work that supports them still serving the masses. And, of course, there are also the brave healthcare workers risking their lives to care for the sick and, many times, the only ones to be with the dying.
All is not lost.
Saint Pope John Paul II said, “We are an Easter people.” If true, we know what comes after the time of darkness. The light of the resurrection still shines today, if sometimes hidden deeply in our own sin or fear. We need to dig down deep into our souls and see that light and then let it shine to those around us. Love one another. Love them in prayer. Love them by text message. Love them by FaceTime calling, or Skype or Zoom or whatever technology we have access to in order to show a smile to those who desperately need one.
As professed Christians, as those with knowledge of the teachings of Jesus Christ, of those to whom the “Great Commission” was given, we are called to share the Good News. We are called to be the light. In all things, at all times, we will praise God for his goodness and thank Christ for his salvation and live like we know that to be true!
We must make Holy Week central to our belief, our actions, and our lives. It’s our duty, our call, our Truth. The light of the Holy Spirit lives within us and will not be quenched by a virus.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit.
-1 THES 5:18-19