The community to which I belong uses the method of Lectio Divina to pray with the following Sunday’s gospel. Basically it is read three times with various modes of sharing after each reading. Well, this week we gathered waiting for someone to produce an edited version for it is so encompassing, so detailed – so long. We managed. Much of the story is about self-isolation. A few of the brave, like today’s medical workers, stayed aware of, but ignoring the cost.
My niece is to be married in a few weeks. The wedding will be held: bride and groom, minister, and parents. No rice (sold off the shelves), no dance or party. Just a few brave souls at the margins. Now I am in no way comparing my niece’s wedding to the story leading up to the crucifixion and the death of Jesus. But I am implying that much of life is often experienced alone. I recall the song, “Abide with me”. Tender and trite, it nails the experience; a few lines: “I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;/ Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;/ Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?/ I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.”
So often we invoke God’s presence. Nice thought. Then we experience life being radically altered. On the margins. Many of us in our own way are experiencing the sting of today’s reality. De La Salle wrote to his brothers in Meditation 25.3: “Jesus Christ was not content to have had this yearning to die for us all during his life. When he saw the time of his death approaching, he testified to his joy. This is what made him say to his apostles when he celebrated the Last Passover with them: that he had for a long time desired to eat this meal with them and that he had a very strong desire to celebrate this Passover with them. He knew that this was to be the final act of his mortal life and the last meal he would eat with his apostles before suffering and dying for us.” Jesus gathered his close friends. De La Salle often spoke of the importance of community. These days make us recognize the fragility of life and the importance of community/family/friends.
As we experience this Holy Week can we find hope in the abiding love of God who gathers with us and our loved ones? The poet Jane Kenyon ended her poem, “Let Evening Come” with the words, “God does not leave us comfortless, so let evening come.” Live Jesus in our hearts.