As a person who constantly feels like he’s too busy, I was the first to celebrate the cancellation of basically everything. It came to me as water comes to a man dying of thirst when I found out that I no longer had to go to classes, or meetings, or the like. To tell you the truth, even though I find the Holy Mass to be without equal in its own profundity and consolation, I was even relieved at being released from the necessity of going to a Church on Sunday. Having one less “obligation” seemed like a further relief of the burden I was already carrying.
Today it is Good Friday, and the reality of what it means to be isolated finally hit home for me. I did my best to pray with a Good Friday liturgy on the television and I found the experience distasteful because it felt as though I had been relegated to the position of a spectator. The visceral movements of the heart that come with any liturgy seemed to be absent as I sat on a couch, instead of kneeling in a church.
After living within what I call the shroud of Good Friday, that veil of darkness that seems to creep over everything for this entire special day, I watched the Passion of the Christ with my parents. As I saw Mary rush to touch her dying son, or Veronica tangibly aid the Christ by permitting Him to wipe His face, it all came crashing down. I wept in solidarity with my Lord and those who loved Him so deeply, but I also wept because I long for the Eucharist.
In the Eucharist, we too can wipe Christ’s face of the blood and grime that have settled there. Likewise, Jesus wipes ours. How I longed to be part, physically, of the Body of Christ, gathered in His name. I wanted to feel His blood on my lips as I received, in response to His command, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Mt 26:27-8).
Now that my desire for rest has been satiated, I cannot help but mourn for my own inability to attend the Holy Mass. It is for this reason, that I believe that this time is an urgent opportunity to deepen our devotion to what matters most in this life. Let us shed off any pretense of happiness that is found in passing things and human pleasures. Our own life, if we are to have it all, is found in the Cross, in our Lord, and in the Resurrection. Our life is sourced through the Church, which is His Body, from which comes the tender caresses that we need in a time like this.
It is true that Christ is present to us internally, in the Holy Spirit. However, to sacrifice the external expression of our faith life in favor of what is unseen, is like saying I could marry a woman and never need to meet her in real life. Talk about a lack luster sex life!
Nonetheless, this isolation which we are all enduring is no reason to deny Easter its proper place in our lives! My dear friends, may the joy of Easter be ignited within your hearts stronger than ever. I am with you in prayer and in love! We will rise from this tomb.