April 10, 2020 – Tenebrae: Morning Prayer of the Passion of the Lord
Sermonette Shared by Bro. Vincent Chloe Que, CSsR
Greetings of Peace!
We are in the liturgical time called Holy Week, and today is Good Friday. But what makes this week Holy? Or this day Good? Is it not that were are reminded today of a terrible suffering, an unimaginable fate that befalls Jesus, our Lord? In fact, this morning’s prayer is called Tenebrae, which is a Latin word that means “darkness.”
Brothers and sisters, what makes it holy and good is precisely presence of Jesus, even in darkness, even in suffering. Suffering is a human reality that many have tried to explain. Yet Jesus never explained it, instead he willingly suffered so that in our suffering we will meet him there. Amidst this Pandemic, we find ourselves vulnerable and in great suffering:
- As we are confined in our homes, under quarantine, we may experience anxiety and fear. Yet last night we remember Jesus in the garden sweating blood in deep anxiety and fear for death is lurking around.
- Because of physical distancing and travel bans we may be separated from our loved ones or unable to hug and kiss our elderly parents and young ones, we may feel lonely. Yet we remember how lonely Jesus was when his friends abandoned and even denied him.
- Our “frontliners” come face to face with danger on a daily basis, their burden is compounded by the lack of support for them. Yet we remember Jesus facing Pilate, scourged, mocked, and sentenced to death.
- When our daily-wage earners are forced to stay home even if it means losing their means of sustenance, today we remember Jesus forced to carry his heavy cross.
- And when we are sick or when we feel God has abandoned us, the voice of Jesus reechoes: “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”
- And yes, even in death, Jesus is there.
But also, two days from now, Jesus is also present in Easter: in our recoveries, in the heroism of our frontliners and our daily victories in fighting this pandemic. Yes Jesus is present in our Joys and in our triumphs! Indeed the cross would not make full sense without the empty tomb.
Today we begin the paschal triduum. Pascha or Pesach means passage. A capuchin priest, Fr. Cantalamessa referred to this as: “the passage of the Jewish people from slavery to freedom, the passage of Christ from this world to the Father, and the passage from sin to grace for those who believe in him.”
John the evangelist also sees the passion, death, and resurrection as one event, one moment. Let us bask in Hope, something that these days’ celebration brings. Hope, Pope Francis says, is not an illusion, if we put our hope in Christ, it is never wasted.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, a great invitation is before us in these trying times and as we celebrate the Holy Week, let us unite our suffering with the suffering of Jesus, allow these to purify us and bring us back closer to God, let us entrust to him our anxieties… rest assured that He understands us. And have faith in the resurrection, have faith that better days will come in God’s perfect time. This is what makes this week holy and this day good, we are celebrating a perfect act of Love by our God who, even in our sinfulness, will never ever abandon us.
Have a blessed days ahead!