Holy Week – a letter from our provincial president, Sr. Margaret Hickey, ND
We have entered into the Triduum—Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. May these days fill you with you with many graces leading into the great joy of Easter Sunday!
In my journey through this Lent I have often reflected on current events in relationship to the days of Lent.
The triduum is now my focus.
We celebrate Jesus’ gift of the Eucharist to us for all times and Jesus’ modeling for us service to others. “This is my Body, this is my Blood given to you. Do this in memory of me. Let me strengthen you with this Eucharist.” After Jesus washes the feet of his disciples he says: “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” No doubt the disciples experiencing this washing action remembered the many ways Jesus modeled service in his lifetime.
For the last year we have not been able to attend liturgy and receive the Eucharist in person. Some of us have just recently returned, but others are still waiting for the day when to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus. In these circumstances Jesus is still with us, still strengthening us. Also, think back on the many good deeds you have performed for others or had performed for you. Jesus’ example of service has been strong among us as we reached out to meet others’ needs or had our needs met. Even the smallest act for someone makes a difference.
After the Last Supper and Jesus’ agony in the garden, he is arrested, questioned, beaten and condemned to the death of a criminal. The horror of this day is unimaginable and profound. After the death of Jesus the disciples flee for fear, leaving only Mary, John and a few women standing with Jesus during his dying.
I think of those escaping war and violence, families being separated by death or disagreement of principles; I reflect on their confusion. I think of victims of violence and disregard, of the isolated COVID patients, their care-givers and the families who might not see them again or have the inability to celebrate their lives after death.
Jesus knows our agony these days because he lived it in his life and in his last days. Mary understands our agony because she walked with Jesus. They both felt the pain and the separation that many of us feel today. There are no words to describe all this today. We pray for those who are in great agony today.
This is a day of silence for Jesus’ family and friends. What did his death mean? How did this happen? What do we do without him? Can we believe that he said he would be raised on the third day and what did that mean? The silence can be frightening but it can be healing as well. Remember what the disciples were able to do once they realized the magnanimity of Jesus’ great love.
Many of us have experienced loss of loved ones over this year. This is debilitating, excruciating. The promise is that it is also healing and our strength will return-in time.
Jesus is raised from the dead! All shall be well! Jesus fulfilled his promise. Love is stronger than death. Fr. Richard Rohr states: “Nothing dies forever, and all that has died in love will be reborn in an even larger love. To be a Christian is to be inevitably and forever a person of hope.”
Happy Easter, people of Hope!