| As I write this reflection, I am blessed to be spending these days in the convent of the generalate of the Religious of Our Lady of the Missions (RNDM) here in Rome, where I have the privilege of accompanying the Sisters on a Paschal Retreat during this Triduum. The greatest joy of my ministry as Mission Promoter for Solidarity with South Sudan is getting to know and spend time with so many gifted women and men religious, who have given everything to the service of God and God’s people.
During the Washing of the Feet at our Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Sister Margaret Scott, RNDM, shared a beautiful poem by Sister Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB, about that last seder meal that Jesus shared with his friends, Sister Macrina writes:
We were dwelling in the heart of mystery.
Though dark the night, Hope felt right—
As if something evil
Was about to be conquered
As people of faith, we believe that we, too, are dwelling in the heart of mystery. We are aware of the darkness all around us, of the evil that pervades our world in so many situations of conflict and injustice across the planet. And yet, somehow, paradoxically, hope “feels right”: our faith tells us that the evil within our world and sometimes even in our own hearts can be conquered by the mystery of God’s indwelling presence.
By the time most of you read this, Easter will have arrived and we Christians will have embarked on the Great Fifty Days which stubbornly assert that—in spite of all signs to the contrary—God is present in our world: Jesus has indeed been raised from the dead. The signs of death which are all around us can be conquered, as Jesus himself conquered them, by allowing ourselves to be broken and poured out, as he was, in our tenacious commitment to life for all God’s people.
A beautiful hymn by the New Zealand composer Shirley Erena Murray puts it this way:
For ev’ryone born, a place at the table,
For ev’ryone born, clean water and bread,
A shelter, a space, a safe place for growing,
For ev’ryone born, a star overhead,
And God will delight when we are creators
Of justice and joy, compassion and peace:
Yes, God will delight when we are creators
Of justice, justice and joy.
These days of the Paschal Triduum, as my friend Sister Juliana Karomba, MSOLA, wrote to me recently, “are privileged days of vividly touching once more the love of God for us to the end”. And that “end”, because of Jesus’ faith in his Father, became, through the Resurrection, not the end, but a new beginning.
As Saint Augustine once wrote, “We are an Easter People, and Alleluia is our Song”. Let us stubbornly persist in asserting the hope of Easter even amidst the signs of despair in our world. May Christ “Easter” in us (Gerard Manley Hopkins).
09 April 2023
Fr David Gentry, Mission Promoter
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