While Jesus is indeed alive, the reality of God’s Kingdom is far from being fully realized in our world. Ultimately, rushing to the goodness of Easter is part of an escapist mentality only afforded to the most privileged among us.
We can hang onto Jesus with the right hand, grasp our brothers and sisters with the left, and take one bold step into the gathering gloom of Holy Week. That’s what Lent has always been about. That’s what it’s about now, amid a global pestilence that stalks in the darkness.
No, the COVID-19 virus is not some kind of divinely unleashed pestilence to punish us. But what seems clear is this: It is not the disease itself that has revealed our sin, it is the ways we have responded that have condemned us to our current misery and suffering.
“God has got this,” the attendant in the airport travelers’ lounge said. Indeed.
Whatever else, Lent is the church’s reminder that we are ever improvising, seizing the half-baked idea or the unexpected moment of irony, tragedy or failure as an occasion for grace.
The Gospels’ accounts of Jesus’ final days share a remarkable continuity. But the unique features of each Gospel also give us much to consider during Holy Week.
Imagine that on Palm Sunday, both Jesus and Pilate, enter Jerusalem from the same gate. The tension created in this imaginary scene introduces us to the underlying tension of Holy Week. And we must decide which parade we will attend.
Fortunately, God has not called me to be a monk. But, by cultivating the discipline of silence during Lent, I see ways God is doing a new work in me.
The Rule of St. Benedict urges us during the season of Lent “to wash away . . .the negligences of other times.” I have been pondering the areas I neglect as routinized behavior scurries past attentiveness and contemplation.