The Passion in Real Time: A Triduum Reflection in a Global Pandemic

By Sr. Clare Walsh, MHSH

Holy Week is more palpable this year than most of us imagined possible. We are experiencing the passion played out in real time.

We are confined, masked, distanced as health care workers offer themselves so others may live, while essential workers help to carry the cross thus making the way less burdensome. Neighbors being neighborly, looking out for the most vulnerable. A Holy Week where we “keep watch”.

This is an anxious time, “a night different from all other nights”. Questions arise from deep inside our being. Throughout scripture, Jesus posed questions to engage us, perhaps none with more urgency than those questions asked during his passion and death.

His questions probe, drawing from life as it emerges, and looking for a response hidden within us. The questions of Jesus are where prayer has always been valid. The initiative is always His. The graced response is ours. In his questions, Jesus holds us within his gaze.

We cannot use Holy Week to escape COVID19…this global pandemic calls us to solidarity as we share suffering with our sisters and brothers around the world.

Jesus’s deepest desire is to be in relationship with us.

Would you want to spend some time these days allowing Jesus to lovingly ask you the questions he voiced in the darkest of times?

Could you not keep watch with me for one hour?

 

  Do you know what I have done for you?

 

 And, what shall I say?
Father, save me from this hour?

 

 Whom are you looking for?

 

 Shall I not drink the Cup given to me by my Father?

 

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

 

God Bless us all these holy and frightening days. We wait in faith-filled Hope.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: Day 3 Prayer and Reflection

Day 3: Changed by the Suffering Servant.

Scripture
Isaiah 53:3-11, The man of sorrows accustomed to suffering.
Psalm 22:12-24, He did not despise the affliction of the afflicted.
1Peter 2:21-25, Christ suffered for us.
Luke 24:25-27, Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things?
Meditation
The divine paradox is that God can change tragedy and disaster into victory. He transforms the enormity of history’s pain into a resurrection that encompasses the whole world. While appearing to be defeated, He is the true Victory whom no one and nothing can overcome.
Isaiah’s prophecy was completely fulfilled in Christ. After suffering enormous agony, the Man of Sorrows shall see His offspring. We are that offspring, born from the Savior’s suffering. In this way we are made one family in Him.
Psalm 22 is not only about Jesus. The Savior Himself prayed this psalm on the cross. In the second part of the psalm the lamentation changes into praise of God for God’s works.
Peter presents to us as an example: Jesus did not curse God, but submitted to the one who judges righteously. His wounds have healed us, and returned us all to the one Shepherd.
As with the disciples on the way to Emmaus, Jesus is our constant companion on the stony road of life, stirring our hearts and opening our eyes to the mysterious plan of salvation. The power of the cross draws us into unity. Here we encounter Christ’s suffering as the source of compassion for and solidarity with the entire human family. In our shared solidarity with all who suffer we learn from the crucified suffering servant the lessons of self-emptying, letting go and self-sacrifice. These are the gifts we need from His Spirit on our way to unity in Him.

For Your Reflection

This day calls us to reflect on the suffering of Christ. Following Christ the Suffering Servant, Christians are called to solidarity with all who suffer. The closer we come to the cross of Christ the closer we come to one another.

  1. How can our faith help us in our response to long-lasting suffering?
  2. What areas of human suffering are unnoticed and belittled today?
  3. How can Christians bear witness together to the power of the cross?

Prayer
God of consolation, you have transformed the shame of the cross into a sign of victory. Grant that we may be united around the Cross of your Son to worship Him for the mercy offered through his suffering. May the Holy Spirit open our eyes and our hearts, so that we may help those who suffer to experience your closeness; You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

Source: Greymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute