Perhaps more than ever before, this Good Friday is full of very direct meaning for us in our current situation. It’s no good pretending we are not in danger, and I think it is becoming clear, now more data is available, that the idea it is ‘just the old’ who will cop it is a myth. Perhaps it is something to do with how much immunity to the Covid cluster of viruses we have built up over the years (or not) and that is something we just cannot know – DNA tests not (yet) being as cheap and available as aspirin!
There could be trouble ahead as the song goes, and so how do we as Christians approach the thought of death – either ours or those we love? Good Friday offers some examples of those who had to face just these horrid dilemmas.
Mary is one of the most important people in the life of Our Lord. Can we learn from her response to Jesus’ death? Here are some words from my friend Sr. Catherine (the nun I often mention). She posts a fantastically inspiring, down-to-earth but theologically spot-on blog on her community’s website – well worth signing up for!
“When Mary stood at the foot of the cross, every fibre of her being must have protested at her Son’s death. She would have done anything — anything at all — to spare him that; but she loved him too well to say or do anything that would have made the process of dying any harder than it was.
She stood there, silent but with every nerve alert, accompanying him as best she could but not making any demands. When she was entrusted to the Beloved Disciple and he to her, she said nothing. That silence, that acceptance, was the silence of one who embraces the will of God because it is God’s will, the silence of one who is truly loving.”
The other point she makes really helped me personally. It was especially helpful because the thing I fear most is dying alone and separated from the person I love most – or for them to be alone at that moment. This is what Sr. Catherine says:
“My second point is more theological. There are times when we may doubt whether we are truly loving … Yet we can know that we are because we have been incorporated into Christ, and it is His love that is active in us.
At Easter we shall sing of being buried with Christ in baptism (cf Romans 6.4) and if that means what I believe it does, not only our death but our dying is, too. What we are tempted to think of as lonely and individual is suddenly illuminated by a shaft of sunlight.
We do not die alone. We die in union with Christ Jesus, and that changes everything”