Easter celebrations remind me of the ministry as priest to those who are dying and the families who have lost their loved ones. Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter) can become a mirror to our life till we reach the resurrection.
1. Dying: Facing someone who is dying is like the experience of “Holy Thursday”. People gathered around the dying person giving him or her assurance of their love, support and prayer. At the same time the family would like to attend to the needs of the dying person. Remember what Peter said to Jesus at the last supper when Jesus spoke about his betrayal? Peter said: “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will” (Matt 26:33). We know that Peter wouldn’t do anything to protect Jesus, like we who are powerless in facing the fact of our loved one dying. Like Jesus and his disciples there was a service among them: giving food and washing of the feet.
2. Death: The powerlessness would become worsen at the death of our loved one. Some people find it hard to accept the fact and even question God for the loss. Even Jesus himself was expressing his sadness by saying: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46). This is the experience of “Good Friday”. The disciples went away to where they came from before following Jesus. They were sad and did not see their bright future as they had imagined when they came to follow Jesus.
3. Words of Remembrance: Every time during a funeral and a member of the family of the deceased person gives “words of remembrance” people feel sad but at the same time make the person alive and people feel alive too with funny and touching stories of the deceased. This is the “Easter: resurrection”. The same thing happened to the disciples when they talked about Jesus on their way to Emmaus. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32).
The message for us today is that there are times of “Holy Thursdays, Good Fridays and Easter” in our lives. We ask Jesus of the Thursday to wash our feet and feed us with his body and blood. We ask Jesus of the Friday to fill our emptiness, calm our fear and sadness through his passion. We also ask Jesus of the Resurrection to give us light, life and hope of endless joy. Keep telling the stories of Jesus which will make him and us alive at the same time.