Traditionally, on Good Friday, the RC kids hold vigil. We attend mass in the middle of the afternoon. In my world, the family gathers at my parents’ house for Good Friday Fishfest, and we talk about how the bounty of food in front of us doesn’t feel like we’re denying ourselves in accordance with the fasting guidelines we adhere to.
This year, there’s no mass. There’s no fishfest. If you even wanted to order fish and chips to pick up for dinner, you needed to do it a week ago. This year is different in so many ways. I’ve looked back at other years and I felt like the world was going off the rails because of Middle East tensions and Daesh, or the US election primaries and the circus that drags along with it.
But this year Lent gave us something different. We don’t know what comes next. The responsible ones amongst us stay at home to protect the essential workers who can’t stay home. But the news changes daily. There’s no concern, then there is. It’s transmitted by touch, or maybe by air. You don’t need to wear masks, but now you do. What we think we know changes several times in a week. What we knew a month ago seems naive now.
So I was thinking, JC had dinner with his friends. They laughed and chatted and it was OK. Then, hours later, one of their own betrayed them, and a day later, their teacher and best friend was dying on a cross, on display for the whole city to see.
This is when the disciples started to hold their breath. JC didn’t say “OK, Peace out – see you on Sunday”. He left them afraid and unsure of what came next. There were soldiers looking for them. There were people who said they knew who JC’s friends were. They were the 12 remaining, unsure of their tasking in that volatile and uncertain time. So while they saw the risen Christ three days later, and knew that it became their job to go out into the world, fraught with danger and Spread The Word. It’s quite another to understand how to get from hither to yon. It wasn’t until Pentecost that the Holy Spirit descended on Team Disciple and made it all clear. Pentecost is 50 days after Easter. It took 50 days for it all to come into focus. It wasn’t a less scary world, it was just a clearer map.
Think about what we thought we knew 50 days ago. That was February 20. I was waxing poetic about Pączki on Fat Thursday. Headlines were full of basketball and hockey highlights; Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders were tied for the lead in the US Democratic leadership race. People were finally released from a Diamond Princess Cruise Ship in Japan, and the director of the Central Wuhan Wuchang Hospital died from C19. It seems like forever ago.
So where will we be 50 days from now? I know that for me, there’s a whole lot of anxiety packed into that question. That’s where my faith has to step up – Faith that other people will do The Right Thing and faith that my efforts are making a difference. And faith that no matter how this thing plays out for me, I acted in a way that speaks of my Belief.
This Lent, this Good Friday, let’s all consider how, in our own scary world, what we need to get our own map to come into focus. Lets consider how much clearer things will be in 3 days, or 40 days, or 50 days and how our actions impact someone else’s journey.