With disruption and upheaval on a global scale never seen in our lifetime, Easter this year is going to be very different from any we have known up to now. The famous French novelist and playwright, Jules Verna, said solitude, isolation are painful things and are beyond human endurance. This viral pandemic has really paired us back to the essentials, our hearts are exposed, our independence quietened. We must remember too there are parts of the world that have been living like this for a long time. It’s a new behaviour for us all and we are coping as best we can with so much evidence of empathy and solidarity. Thanks to our local shops, pharmacies and essential service personnel who continue to look after us.
The first explorers started discovering different parts of our world with the use of maps. Today we have satellite navigation systems. Google maps and Eircode’s are more reliable and accurate in getting us to our destination. But modern technology will never tell us the feel of a road and its character. The only way to find out is by travelling along it. We are in our journey through Holy Week. We are invited to allow it to be part of our lives. This crisis in our world is more than a gentle reminder that life is never straight forward for anyone. This world of ours has been through many a crisis. The famine of 1845 to 1849 was arguably the single greatest disaster in Irish history. One million people died from disease and starvation. Emigration accounted for the loss of another two million of Ireland’s population. There was a documentary aired on RTE during the week on the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918-1919. It’s estimated that about 500 million people or one –third of the world’s population became infected with the virus, with 50 million deaths worldwide. At the centre of Holy Week is the cross, something we can all relate to. On Good Friday Jesus holds all the thorns of our life, all the pain, the hurt, the disappointments, the darkness and the setbacks. Everything is held in his outstretched arms. But most important how the cross became a sign of Hope thanks to the Resurrection. The journey of Holy Week will lead us to Easter. We call it a sacred week. We are invited to walk the road of Holy Week at our own pace. Our own story is very much in there. We all love Easter its energy and the reason why we keep going each day. It makes today possible. It gives hope when it might be easier to give up. Without Easter we would have absolutely nothing, with Easter we have indeed everything.
Doing our “Easter duty” is very familiar to some of us. Pope Francis’ spoke about this doctrine in words that can also help resolve any issue about fulfilling our Easter duty: “I know that many of you go to confession before Easter… Many will say to me: ‘But Father…I can’t leave the house and I want to make my peace with the Lord. I want Him to embrace me… How can I do that unless I find a priest?’ Do what the catechism says. It’s very clear. If you don’t find a priest to go to confession, speak to God. He’s your Father. Tell Him the truth: ‘Lord. I did this and this and this. Pardon me.’ Ask His forgiveness with all your heart with an act of contrition, and promise Him, ‘afterward I will go to confession.’ You will return to God’s grace immediately. You yourself can draw near, as the catechism teaches us, to God’s forgiveness, without having a priest at hand.”
At time what really matters is health, family, friends, food, air, nature, kindness and love. We pray for our community that even as we stay apart, we may mind each other. For those on the frontline of healthcare for their true dedication that they may be safe from all danger and for those sick or anxious because of the virus that God’s comfort be with them.
Let’s be close to those who have lost loved ones recently, our sympathy and prayers to the families of Mary Carmody Templeglantine, Bridie Kelly Abbeyfeale Nora Noonan Athea, Bridget Bridie Nally U.S.A., John Dore late of killoughteen , Ita McEnery Ballagh, Denise Sheehan kildimo .“Ar dheis De go raibh a hAnam dilis”
Happy Easter to all Parishioners and families members all over the world.
Regards, Fr Denis