Thursday, April 09, 2020

A Different Triduum

We are entering the Sacred Triduum, the three-day observance of Christ's Passion that opens with the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, passes through the darkness of Good Friday and culminates in the triumph of the Easter Resurrection. One has only to recall the Sri Lanka bombings of Easter Sunday just one year ago to recognise that even Easter itself does not preclude human suffering and death. In the suffering of the Cross, Our Lord participated - and continues to participate - in the most profound of human tragedies, even, one might argue in that sense of abandonment and separation that at times overwhelms even those of deepest faith.

So much of the liturgy of the Triduum involves acts that are communal in nature but the reality of the present time demands of many that they cease from such intimate contact. An obvious exception concerns those in the medical profession. Their actions today and over the weeks and months ahead - whether performed as avowed followers of Christ or not - embody the New Commandment.

When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them . . . Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him God is glorified; if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.  Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 12: 12-17, 31-35)
It seems likely that the coronavirus peak will occur during Easter Week. For those suffering the loss of loved ones it will be hard to bear. May our prayers for them prove to be peculiarly efficacious.  

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