When and how will this quarantine end?!
How might Good Friday help us draw closer during these tumultuous times?
If we are looking for answers to when the quarantine will end, when school closures will end, and when our lives will return to some sense of normal… There are no real answers to be had today. I offer this reflection in their place.
Mark chapter 4 describes a scene where the feelings might align with our situation, even if the facts don’t.
As the Gospel story goes, Jesus and His disciples boarded a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. Not long after, the lives of those on that boat are threatened by a storm and the disciples turn to their Teacher to confront the frightening chaos. When they do, they find Him asleep and cry out: “Do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38).
Many of us might feel we are living this story today. Our lives are being threatened by a storm we cannot see, predict, or control. Churches are closed. Grocery store and pharmacy shelves are picked over. Jobs are being lost. There is no doubt the world is in a state of medical and economic emergency… “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?!”
The story continues…
“Jesus arose, and said unto the wind and sea, Peace, be still. And there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39).
In this story, I hear our beloved Teacher’s words directed to the storm inside of me as we face a sea of uncertainty.
With those words in mind, let’s think anew on Good Friday and put our experiences into the context of Holy Week. Our fears are certainly valid during this period of darkness, but light is coming. Calm is coming. While we wait, it is where our fear can lead us that is cause for concern.
Our anxieties and fears can lead to fearing our neighbor, to hoarding supplies, losing our patience, spreading rumors, and casting blame. Our fears can leave us alone against the world.
Instead, reflecting on this experience in the context of Holy Week, we can remember that we are called to operate with faith, hope, and love – not fear – and to draw closer to God and each other in these tumultuous times. Catholic wisdom and practice during Holy Week link our individual struggles to the overarching story of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.
We profess a commitment to reflecting on the meaning of suffering, but also caring for our neighbors as ourselves – especially the most vulnerable neighbors – during that suffering.
In a time of global pandemic, this might look like reaching out to neighbors, fortifying connections and forming new ones. It might also look like following the advice of medical professionals to save the lives of our neighbors – even (or especially) when it is inconvenient. I can’t think of a more important act of solidarity (a global solidarity) today, Good Friday, as we hold vigil for the light of Easter.
MISSIO offers this blog by James Nagle Ph.D. to reflect on questions of mission and faith.