I have always questioned the timeline of Holy Week. The triumphant entry to crowds shouting; to them proclaiming, “Crucify Him,” to the empty tomb, all in one week; especially since there was no social media. Attitudes and beliefs cannot change that dramatically in one week, or can they?
Apostles practiced social distancing, the crowds, clearly did not. Previous contributions recommended sitting alone in silence, little did we know at that time that is what this season has become, alone, not so much the silence. Having hosted a Zoom social amongst friends, the need to see and be with people resulted in 12 people all taking at once. People who had resisted social media, three of which were looking on with spouses because their flip phones do not have the capacity, are recognizing the need in this distancing to have contact in some way with others. Did the Apostles?
The Apostles gathered when things were good, they celebrated the Passover feast. They ran and hid when things were not so good; and then locked themselves away when things were at the worst. They sensed, witnessed, and experienced the mood change. They saw the arrest and heard the rooster crow. They listened to one another and understood the doubts. They eventually expanded their circle to other witnesses, slowly at first. Their fear subsided when they began to understand and have faith. Are we capable of that?
When our circle expands what will be our message? Are we capable of proclaiming through action and then word as the Apostles did, the love, compassion, and mercy of Christ? Or, will we resort to the social distancing we practiced prior to the virus through our busy-ness, alienation due to difference of opinions, apathy of neighbors needs, and pursuit of our own goals without thought of others?
There is a civility present now which has not been seen in sometime. People are calling their elderly neighbors. Families are sharing meals. Children are playing outside. People are saying with great sincerity, thank you. I have always believed in a statement that we are familiar with, “Expect a Miracle.” Of course, the miracle is not the way people are responding, but will be if we maintain these behaviors.
Community, Simplicity, Service, and Prayer, a miracle. Do you believe and faith as the Apostles did? Yes, you do believe, as your actions and attitudes, not just the crowds, have undergone numerous changes. The constant in our lives, is change. Which change will reflect what you truly believe.
May this Holy Week be a blessed and peaceful time. Wash your hands!
By Rev. John P. Donovan. JCL, “JD”. A priest of the Diocese of Syracuse, volunteer since pre-1979, former staff, and an ex officio board member.