A 2020 Easter

2020 is the first time in my long life that I have moved into a world where death and resurrection is so much bigger than the ancient words and symbols, cute rabbits and chocolate eggs and togetherness that usually define Holy Week and its culmination, Easter.

For more years than I care to remember on Holy Thursday I would go to the evening Mass and watch as the priest washed the feet of a few chosen parishioners. Then over to another altar where I spent some time trying to focus on a Man who was grieving all that had been and was to come.

In 2020 I watched the evening news and grieved silently with the women and men who have no right to Centrelink payments, who are here alone, and don’t know what to do or where to go until Covid-19 leaves our country.

Good Friday, and once again I’d listen to the Passion story before lining up to kiss the cross. I bought hot cross buns.

This year I shrank at the Covid-19 deaths recorded in Britain (881), Spain (674), the United States (2,043). I watched shrouded bodies being wheeled out of a hospital and stored in a refrigerated van and the could have wept for women and men who died alone, but loved by those they left behind.

And now it’s Saturday – Holy Saturday. Churches are closed, the beaches are empty, families are staying home, the homeless look for safe shelter, and the world waits – for the infection curve to flatten away to nothing, for scientists across the world to break the coronavirus code, for fear and insecurity to loosen its grip. We wait to step into a world that we now know will never be quite the same again. We have experienced death, and we wait for resurrection.

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Easter will be late this year. But Easter always comes.

Judith Scully

Words in a quiet space

Your isolation space might be quiet, too quiet maybe, or you are sharing it with children, or working from home, or both.  Some time this week gift yourself with the space to hear words from Jesus’ last day.

Jesus said: “My soul is sorrowful to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” (MK 14:35)

Since Good Friday last year we have experienced drought, the most extensive bushfires in our history, days and weeks of smoke and now the world-wide spread of covod-19. People have died, homes and livelihoods been lost, families split and taken-for-granted lifestyles turned upside down. We know about uncertainty, fear of what the future might hold, of feeling helpless. We can understand Jesus’ need for company in his pain.

Jesus said: “Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me will betray me.” (Mt 26:23)

As Jesus was deeply hurt by Judas’ betrayal, we have been saddened by the sexual abuse scandals of the last few years. Priests and clerics worldwide have betrayed the trust put in them by parents and young people and their actions have hurt the whole people of God. God of reconciliation and healing, forgive our failings and bless our efforts to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with you.

Jesus said: “My God, my God, why have you deserted me?” (Mt 27:47)

Jesus’ words are a cry of distress, of anguish, but not of despair. During this time of covod-19 we can feel that things will never get any better, that our isolation will never come to an end and we will never gather in celebration with our loved ones again. We can wonder whether God has deserted us, or worse, is punishing us. This inner pain can cut to the very core of our faith.
My God, my God, we know that your love will never desert us.

Jesus said: “I am thirsty.” (Jn 19:28)

Jesus asked for water and was given sour wine.
Refugees ask for freedom and we give them detention centres.
People thirst for peace and governments give them war.
The homeless thirst for the security of a place to call home and we up the rent.
The young ask for meaning and we give them excuses.

Jesus said: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Lk 23:46)

Janet Mckenzie

He is from a remote village in distant Galilee by birth.

He is a Jew under Roman occupation by nationality.

He is a descendant of Abraham by his faith.

He is of royal blood of the line of David.

He is nailed to a cross like a slave deprived of his human rights.

He is on Golgotha, outside the city, deprived of his right of citizenship.

He is Jesus, the Christ.

He is God revealed to his people.

Judith   (judith@judithscully.com.au)