Suffering is nothing by itself. But suffering shared with the passion of Christ is a wonderful gift, the most beautiful gift, a token of love. ~ St. Mother Teresa
This Holy Week we all share in totally unexpected global suffering.
We’d all like to be rid of it, physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Jesus willingly, in His own suffering, this week of His Passion and Death has, does, will, take it upon Himself: See, I am creating new heavens and a new earth; The former things shall not be remembered nor come to mind. [Is.65:17]
This is also a good week to remember the words of Pope Francis who deeply understands what every human being is suffering: “When evening had come” (Mk 4:35). The Gospel passage we have just heard begins like this. For weeks now it has been evening. Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost. Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other. On this boat… are all of us. Just like those disciples, who spoke anxiously with one voice, saying “We are perishing” (v. 38), so we too have realized that we cannot go on thinking of ourselves, but only together can we do this. 
At dusk weeping comes for the night; but at dawn there is rejoicing……..You changed my mourning into dancing; You took off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness. [Ps.30:6&12]
At the moment it does feel like dawn is a long way off, that the ‘sackcloth’ of this pandemic and its attendant isolation and stress is only getting heavier.
Each step of the Via Dolorossa how heavier the Cross undoubtedly became for Jesus as He struggled to walk after loss of blood in the garden, being tortured, lack of sleep, the heat of the day, the stress of it all, and how far distant must the top of the Golgotha hill seemed.
Each heavy step we take through this new normal, if we look down, we will see the Sacred Blood imprint of His own footsteps.
He has been this way already for us, He is leading us, and also walking with us. While we carry the cross of these days with Him, He also carries us.
While we should be as Simon of Cyrene for one another, He is Simon of Cyrene for us.
Why should we have no fear? Because man has been redeemed by God……….In the Redemption we find the most profound basis for the words “Be not afraid!”: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” [cf.Jn.3:16]. This Son is always present in the history of humanity. The Redeemer pervades all of human history…..It is the light that “shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”[cf.Jn.1:5]. The power of Christ’s Cross and Resurrection is greater than any evil which man could or should fear. 
 CROSSING THE THRESHOLD OF HOPE, by His Holiness John Paul II; p. 219; Alfred A. Knopf, Canada, 1994 [underling added]
© 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph
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