HOLY WEEK REFLECTIONS – GOOD FRIDAY

A reflection by Mauricio Silva and Nathalie  Marytsch 

Growing  up in our  native Chile,  the  Good  Friday experience  was  always  one  of  going to the depths of  both  your  personal and  social  sorrows. It was always a mix of an inward and an outward   journey. The sombre tone of the liturgy felt like an encouragement to review personally in what way as individuals we needed to change and improve– the inner journey. On the other hand, the  lively  feeling  of  participating  in  the crowded Way  of the  Cross  processions and  marches along the streets, was  a reminder of  the common struggle  we  faced  as a community  under a dictatorial  regime –  the outer  journey.

Today, this crisis finds us in Birmingham and we are faced again with a similar sense of shared vulnerability which has embraced every aspect of our inner and outer life. At a family level, the enjoyment – and strains- of spending more time with those we live with mixes with the sadness of a forced separation from other people we love. In Fatima  House -a  project run  by  the Columban missionaries, which offers  accommodation to nine destitute  asylum seeker women- the encouragement we  find  in seeing the spontaneous solidarity  of women who  have already  gone  through separation and  isolation from those they love, mixes with the fact that these ‘broken lives on the mend’ are faced with yet  more uncertainties due to this global pandemic. 

The Gospel tells us of a tortured and outcast Jesus on the cross crying ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?’  In the  context  of fear  and  sense  of  abandonment felt  by many because  of Covid-19, we  all may need  to  listen more attentively to this cry and perhaps try  to own Jesus’  words as  an  acknowledgement of our own limitations. We may need to find, in the solitude and loneliness of today, what Jesus’ cry means in our lives personally and socially. Accompanying Jesus this Good Friday may mean that, in the nakedness of our own limited existence, we are able to take time to discern what is it that really matters in my life and what makes us fulfilled as individuals and as a society. So when Resurrection is experienced, we will have learned to let go of everything that, in that ‘normal life of the past’, gave us a godless sense of being in control.

The  Good  Friday  of this  pandemic  can  also  be an opportunity  to  grow in  solidarity with many  who, among us, are  confined  to  live  in permanent  exclusion   and isolation  particularly  the unemployed ,  the frail isolated elderly,  the asylum seekers and so many others. They, like Jesus, confront us with surprisingly beautiful signs of life which spring out from discarded seeds.