A reflection from Gerry McGinley, Co-Chair of the PPC
I would like to wish all our parishioners, their families and friends every grace and blessing during this Easter season.
We have all celebrated Holy Week and Easter like no other before. The celebrations and liturgy starting on Palm Sunday, continuing with the celebration of the Lord’s Last Supper, the commemoration of his passion and death on Good Friday, and culminating in Jesus’ Resurrection celebrated during the Easter Vigil are the very foundation of our Catholic faith. This is a time when the faithful flock to churches to participate in these celebrations. But not this year. However, thanks to the wonders of online technology and Father Anthony’s enthusiasm to embrace and use it, at St Margaret’s, we have been able to participate online in all the main services of Holy Week and Easter celebrated live by Father Anthony on Facebook and YouTube. Spiritually, I felt very much involved in these celebrations and in communion with everyone else watching online. I am sure that those who participated will join me in expressing our deep gratitude to Father Anthony for the efforts he made to arrange these services so that we could participate in them. And a special thanks to those from and outside the parish who made an invaluable contribution through reading the scriptures and singing psalms.
There are some interesting parallels between the situation we are going through now and the events which occurred at the time of our Lord’s Resurrection. While the apostles and other disciples were overjoyed that Jesus had risen from the dead, they still had fears and uncertainty about what all this meant for the future. We are told in St John’s Gospel “…the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews,…” (John 20:19). We are similarly enclosed in our homes, restricted from going out, filled with fear and uncertainty about how long this situation is going to continue , how many more people might die and what kind of society will emerge.
Like Abraham in the Old Testament, when he was asked to sacrifice his only son Isaac (Genesis 22:1-18), we must have faith in God’s providence. This virus has had terrible consequences all over the world, devastating people’s lives and livelihoods. And yet we believe that this is part of God’s plan, which we might not understand at the moment, but everything will come good in the fullness of time. Easter provides us with a great message of hope. As Pope Francis said in his Holy Week message: “In the risen Jesus, life conquered death. This Paschal faith nourishes our hope. I would like to share it with you this evening. It is the hope of a better time, in which we can be better, finally freed from evil and from this pandemic. It is a hope: hope does not disappoint; it is not an illusion, it is a hope.” Just as Christ’s resurrection gave us hope of our resurrection to eternal life, it should give us hope that our normal lives will resume after this pandemic. But just as life for Jesus’ disciples was very different after his resurrection, our lives too should be very different once this virus has passed. It will hopefully give us a new insight into what the real priorities are in our lives – the importance of our faith and trust in God’s providence, being a more caring society and loving our neighbour, as shown by the many acts of kindness being done at the moment.
So, as we look forward to the future, let us be inspired by the message of St Augustine: “We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song”. And please God, it will not be too long before we can gather again together in our church to sing Alleluia in praise and thanksgiving once this pandemic has been overcome.