I sat down to start writing this reflection. I typed then deleted. Typed again then deleted. Then I realized that I was writing what I thought would sound good on paper. I took a deep breath and decided that in order to get something on paper I had to acknowledge all my feelings.
So, let me start by saying that I was upset, bummed, in shock, sad, that this year I would not get to live out the triduum at church. I was upset because my favorite time of the liturgical year was ruined. I was in disbelief as I sat on my couch on Holy Thursday to live stream mass. I did not think I would see the day when we couldn’t be in community during this time.
So even in the weirdness of it all, we sat as a family and livestreamed mass on Holy Thursday. We put on worship music on Good Friday, set up our little altar to watch a livestream Good Friday service and even did our own veneration of the cross. Side note: my 3- year old keeps telling me she kissed Jesus in the armpit and my 4-year old keeps telling me she kissed him in the leg. I love that they have that memory.
I would love to say that Holy Saturday was silent, but the reality is that with 3 kids and finally some sunshine there was nothing quiet about Saturday. Sunday, we got up, made breakfast and got dressed (nicely I may add) and were out the door for a drive-by blessing in our cars. The priest at St. Ignatius of Loyola in Highland park is our son’s godfather and we knew that he would be in the parking lot giving Easter blessings. So, from a distance we got some Holy Water sprinkled on the car and a little bit on us.
After our Easter blessing, my son decided that our family could celebrate Easter together by giving each other Easter eggs and then each family would do their own Easter egg hunt in their own homes after exchanging eggs. He’s too clever for being 8 years old. We did just that! We went around and safely exchanged Eggs with our family.
I must admit that even though our experience of the triduum and Easter had been very pleasant, there was still a feeling of emptiness in my heart.
We came home and livestreamed mass. And for me this was the turning point. The priest said something in his homily that just changed my perspective. He was talking about emptiness. He said that emptiness in this case is good. Huh? Where are you going with this? He continued by explaining that the emptiness of the tomb is good! Then he said that even as he looked into the emptiness of the church there is Hope. He said, “in this emptiness the church is no longer just here, the church is outside, the church is in your homes, the church is in your families.” And yes I wrote that down because it struck a chord with me. He talked about how for Easter we see emptiness not as an end but as a beginning. The tomb was now empty and that is good. And right now even though our churches are empty, it is good.
I sat just thinking about the last few days that we had experienced as a family. I thought of all the posts I had seen on social media. And he was indeed right. In the midst of all the chaos, loneliness and emptiness, people/families are using or hopefully using this time to be transformed. People are using different platforms to share their faith. People who may have never heard the Gospel before are now hearing it either through mass or from people sharing. And just like that I realized that the feeling of emptiness in my heart is good. The emptiness is allowing families, even my own, to live out church at home. Now don’t get me wrong the struggle is real…I am so looking forward to receiving the Eucharist again…hopefully sooner rather than later, but my heart is also full of Hope.
Easter this year was different. But different can be good. This beautiful day on which we celebrate that Jesus conquered evil, ended up being a call to action. A call to rise with Him. Let’s use this time when everything is cancelled, postponed or empty to allow the King of Kings, the one who showed us great love, to enter fully into our hearts and lives and transforms us, make us new!
And like Matt Maher says in his song “O Church, come stand in the light! Our God is not dead, He’s alive, He’s alive!”
Christ is Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Let us Rejoice and be glad!