Easter 2020 Reflection

Almost as never before, nature seems in perfect harmony with Easter this year. The sun is shining, the weather is unexpectedly warm after the cold of the past few weeks, the birds are singing gaily and have rarely been so audible, the daffodils and tulips are showing their magnificence, and the trees are about to burst into an explosion of colour and life. The timing couldn’t be better. Surrounded by such glory, it is hard to imagine that the country, indeed the world, is in turmoil, brought to its knees by a virus, against which the best of medical treatment seems powerless. And since we humans are the only means by which the virus is transmitted to others, the most loving thing we can do for one another is to avoid physical contact, to practise social distancing, to stay at home. It is so counter intuitive.

In these days Christians would normally be celebrating the liturgies of the Easter Triduum, beginning with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, and the solemn Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night. Because of the current restrictions these ceremonies can only be celebrated behind closed doors and accessible via webcam or on TV. The purpose of these liturgies is to connect us with God’s great love for all humanity, and for the whole of creation, revealed in the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This year in a particular way the passion and death of Our Lord are being lived out in our midst. Most of us can only imagine the situation in most of our hospitals: people very sick, many of them in intensive care, unable to see their loved ones; health care staff doing their utmost in extraordinary conditions to care for their patients, conscious of the risk to themselves and to their families. It is particularly difficult for families who lose a loved one in a hospital or nursing home setting at this time: unable to be with their loved one in their last moments, and with only the immediate family being allowed to attend the funeral. Nor can we forget the economic hardship and accompanying insecurity for so many people.

If Easter is about anything, it is about the presence of death in the midst of life, but it is also about witnessing to new life in the sadness and tragedy of death. The suffering and death of Jesus on Good Friday was real, and his followers were left desolated and abandoned. Somehow out of that experience of utter darkness they came to experience and proclaim resurrection faith. Generations of Christians, saints and sinners, have witnessed to Easter faith through times of war, persecution, hunger and sickness. This is our moment.

Christian faith above all proclaims that we are not alone, whatever we might be facing. God in Jesus Christ is with us, always giving us courage and hope and leading us towards new life. We live that hope by showing solidarity with one another, whatever sacrifice that might ask of ourselves. So many people are doing that right now, accepting in good spirit the restrictions on our movements and normal way of life, and reaching out in creative ways to those who are isolated, anxious or suffering. In doing this we are proclaiming our faith in and helping to create a better future for everyone. Jesus Christ is risen! Alleluia, alleluia!

Fr. Richard Sheehy 

 

 

Prayer for Newsletter

 

 

Thought for the Day 09/04/2020

'This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you:
that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread,
and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, 'This is my body, which is for you;
do this as a memorial of me.' in the same way he took the cup after supper, and said,
'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me'.
Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.'
1 Corinthians 11: 23-26 from the Mass for Holy Thursday

'O precious in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of his faithful.
A thanksgiving sacrifice I make;
I will call on the Lord's name.'
Psalm 116 from the Mass for Holy Thursday

 

Thought for the Day 08/04/2020

 ‘That is the ultimate goal: to become love....to be love in the world. Love is who you truly are, and who I am too. It is our deepest truth. The only sin is the absence of love in us.
Our personal love of God is the same as our love and forgiveness for the least of those in our lives.’             (Daniel O’ Leary)

‘Each morning the Lord wakes me to hear ,
To listen like a disciple.
The Lord has opened my ear.’ 
                        (Isaiah 50:5; from the First Reading at Mass for Wednesday of Holy Week)

 

Thought for the Day - 07/04/2020

‘It seems that God’s love does not protect me from anything, but somehow enables me, strengthens and supports me in the midst of the dying I’m enduring....It somehow manages to touch with courage, patience, even tenderness those hurting places, cauterising everything that is not love. Until only love is left.’    (Daniel O’ Leary)

‘It is you, O Lord, who are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, since my youth.
On you I have leaned from my birth,
from my mother’s womb you have been my help.’ 

Psalm 70 (from Mass of Tuesday of Holy Week 2020)

 

A Message from Pope Francis

“Tonight before falling asleep think about when we will return to the street. When we hug again, when all the shopping together will seem like a party. Let's think about when the coffees will return to the bar, the small talk, the photos close to each other. We think about when it will be all a memory but normality will seem an unexpected and beautiful gift. We will love everything that has so far seemed futile to us. Every second will be precious. Swims at the sea, the sun until late, sunsets, toasts, laughter. We will go back to laughing together. Strength and courage.”

 

Prayer for a Pandemic by Cameron Bellm

May we who are merely inconvenienced

Remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have no risk factors

Remember those most vulnerable.

May we who have the luxury of working from home

Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.

May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close

Remember those who have no options.

May we who have to cancel our trips

Remember those that have no safe place to go.

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market

Remember those who have no margin at all.

May we who settle in for a quarantine at home

Remember those who have no home.

As fear grips our country,

let us choose love.

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,

Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors. Amen.

 

And People Stayed Home

And people stayed home
and read books and listened
and rested and exercised
and made art and played
and learned new ways of being
and stopped
and listened deeper
someone meditated
someone prayed
someone danced
someone met their shadow
and people began to think differently
and people healed
and in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways,
dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
even the earth began to heal
and when the danger ended
and people found each other
grieved for the dead people
and they made new choices
and dreamed of new visions
and created new ways of life
and healed the earth completely
just as they were healed themselves.

(Kathleen O'Meara's poem, 'And People Stayed Home,' written in 1869, after the famine)

 

From Psalm 42
 
‘With cries that pierce me to the heart,
my enemies revile me,
saying to me all day long:
‘’Where is your God?’’

Why are you cast down, my soul,
why groan within me?
Hope in God; I will praise him still,
my saviour and my God.’
 

‘Suffering itself is a fact; how I see it is a choice.
I can change my destiny and how I prepare for it by changing my attitude to it.‘
(Daniel O’ Leary)

 

 

 

 

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