This year, we will once again celebrate Holy Week in an unusual way. We cannot gather in our churches to relive the mystery of the passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We are invited to follow these celebrations on TV or social media – and that will definitely help – but it is very different from being in church and taking an active part in the liturgy.
Although we will miss coming together for the celebration of the most important event of our Christian faith, we know that suspending church gatherings temporarily is the right decision, because the protection of human life is paramount. We have our priorities in the right place when we follow a consistent life ethic.
In the silence of our homes, we are invited to reflect more deeply on the message of the Paschal event that reaches its peak in Easter, the celebration of the victory of life over death. It is the Risen Lord who gives us the fullness of life, who helps us overcome our exhaustion, apathy and mistrust. It is he who helps us not to be seduced by the look-good, feel-good mantras that trivialise life and drown it in a sea of superficiality. This Paschal faith nourishes our hope. It reminds us that life is a journey, and what really matters is never to lose sight of the Lord who is the origin and destination of our journey. It is a journey that leads us to the fullness of life and love.
The Apostle Paul says: “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Cor 5:15). Living Holy Week means learning self-giving – how to be open-hearted and reach out to others, especially those who are most distant, those who are forgotten, those who have suffered the loss of their loved ones due to the COVID-19 pandemic or other causes. It means being there for those who are in need of understanding, compassion and help. We must never forget people who are facing difficulties of all sorts and are seriously worried because of the uncertain future. We are called to bring the living presence of Jesus, merciful and full of love.
During this past year there have been so many generous people, such as our healthcare workers, many other professionals and volunteers, who have daily gone out of their way to tend to the sick and the needy in society. They have embodied the lifestyle of the Good Samaritan who bends down to his brother in need and takes care of him. They remind us that we will not find the Risen Lord if we avoid the wounds of Jesus present in the wounds of our brothers and sisters.
A year ago, Pope Francis gave a poignant Holy Week message to all, and he told us how we can live the message of Easter in our daily lives: “Let us try, if we can, to make the best use of this time: let us be generous; let us help those in need in our neighbourhood; let us look out for the loneliest people, perhaps by telephone or social networks; let us pray to the Lord for those who are in difficulty… Even if we are isolated, thought and spirit can go far with the creativity of love. This is what we need today: the creativity of love.”
Joseph Galea Curmi, Auxiliary bishop of the Maltese archdiocese
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