When will it end? When will life return to normal? When will we be able to access the Sacraments, especially Holy Mass? As the pandemic rages on throughout the world there are signs of hope in our country that it might be slowing down and there is talk about our lives returning to some sort of normalcy. We would all like to know when that will happen. Give us a date, someone, not just estimates. It’s not easy living in anticipation and waiting for this thing to end. Yet, isn’t that what mankind suffered through for millennia waiting for the Messiah?
Perhaps one of the benefits of our current stay-at-home situation and not being able to attend Mass is being able to feel, in some small way, what the Jews must have experienced during their long history of waiting for the Promised One. The many prophecies gave hope but they were veiled in mystery, so the people continued to wait and hope.
We, however, know the story and timing and events of our redemption from sin but that can be a disadvantage. We can so easily take for granted the salvific events of Holy Week that make up the Paschal Mystery because we know. It has already happened and what we celebrate is our annual representation and remembrance of what took place this week 2000 years ago, knowing the sequence and the outcome. It doesn’t have to be that way, though, especially this year.
As we sit at home – maybe venturing out in short trips for various needs – waiting for life to return to normal and maybe even wondering what that new normal may be, we can take the emotions, the fears, the promises, and the uncertainty of these days and place them into the Paschal Mystery of Holy Week. We can wonder, as the Jews did, what is going on, marveling at the signs this man performs and wondering who he is. We can enter into the world of un-knowing and perhaps experience a new appreciation for this annual celebration.