“Hail, O Cross, Our Only Hope”
We contemplate the Cross, symbol of suffering for human beings, symbol of our suffering. Depending on the person, suffering might mean long illness, adversity, failure, violence, grief… Right now, for all of us it means: COVID-19 pandemic. But the cross of Christ is special. It is for each and every one absolutely unique. Victory of love, it is our only Hope. Today, we celebrate neither suffering, nor death. Today, we celebrate the immense love that Christ and God have for all women and men without exception.
The Cross, which is for each of us a sign of love and salvation, nonetheless remains a mystery. When we experience the sting of suffering, truth to tell, it’s not easy to accept. When Christ invites us to Golgotha, we quickly recognize our limits.
So, what do we do this Good Friday?
To enter into the mystery of the Cross, it’s not enough just to venerate the Cross. We must conform ourselves to Christ, who did not look forward to crucifixion as his death. He spent his days meeting folks — in each instance, he was at the service of the least ones, the sick ones, the poor ones.
On this Good Friday of epidemic proportions, let us minister, as he did, by prayer, by solidarity, by reaching out… bringing relief to the sick, the isolated, the caregivers, those impacted by COVID-19.
On this Good Friday, let us pray to the Holy Spirit that he open our hearts to plumb this great mystery of love which is the Cross of Christ. And then, and only then shall we be able to sing, “Lift high the Cross; the love of Christ proclaim.”
“Let all mortal flesh keep silent.”
Holy Saturday, the long silence. After having commemorated and celebrated the final hours of Jesus — Holy Thursday and Good Friday, the entire Church, the entire Christian world is plunged into silence. On this particular Saturday, the Church is hushed, places of worship are closed, tabernacles empty. It’s Lord has been laid in the tomb. Speechless, it sits mourning like Mary, like the apostles, like all of Jesus’ disciples.
We too, we are invited to live in stillness during this time of pandemic. To live it in union with all the victims of COVID-19, with all those in pain because of this virus, and with those who have lost someone dear to them. We shall lift them all in prayer.
Furthermore, as we meditate on the events of these last two days, with the whole Church let us fix our hope on the promised resurrection.
Father Patrick Celier, CSC