Happy Easter to each of you!
I started this note last week as we entered Good Friday thinking about what this 40-day Lenten journey has been for all of us. I realized that we were about to begin an Easter celebration like no other in our lives.
Before I get to Easter, a word about Lent. Now I don’t know about you, but Lent is never an easy road for me. I had started out thinking I would create some discipline in my spiritual life by getting up each day listening to Dynamic Catholic’s Best Lent Ever and then reading the daily gospel passage. I was fortunate to have a number of friends create a “text support group” so we could share reflections along the way. It started out well…and I felt like I had everything under control. Then the virus changed everything…It was as if my Lent became a real practice of isolation.
The word “quarantine” actually has biblical roots. It comes from idea that we enter into isolation or separation for 40 days. Think of the great flood precipitating Noah’s building of the Ark, or Jesus’ fast in the desert for forty days. In the middle ages, the plague was dealt with by separating those that were ill for 40 days from the rest of the population (i.e. the root word is “quarantino”). This year we began Lent on February 26, and 20 days later “shelter-in-place” became a real quarantine. Social distancing became a new form of fasting.
On Good Friday, I struggled to understand how Lent could be ending, when we continued our isolation. How could Easter feel like a celebration when we aren’t able to rejoin with our families and with one another?
Holy Saturday also took on a new meaning for me. For once I understood how the disciples must have felt having their friend die. Believing as they did in Jesus, it must have been surreal. They didn’t know how the story would turn out. When I think of us in the context of the pandemic and the impact in our lives, I feel like Holy Saturday is a place we know only too well right now. We have great faith, but we don’t know how this story will play out.
This year Easter could not come soon enough. While we take refuge in the Resurrection, we all look for tangible signs of God’s presence here and now. If you find yourself struggling to stay positive or in need of a boost, I would suggest that you read one of the daily gospel messages that recounts the stories of the disciples. At 28 days and counting of “shelter in place”, it helps us to understand that God is with us as we journey through this pandemic together.
I hope you have a blessed Easter week, and that we start anew with a little more joy and a bit more faith.
With blessings and gratitude,