A year like no other!
It has been just about a year since I closed the car park gates on 169 Sharoe Green Lane. They have been opened, but most often they are closed. I did not think that the gates would remain closed for so long! However, on a positive note: it is the first birthday of many groups moving on-line. Who would have thought that you could do Lectio Divina on a computer screen? It is amazing how many things have moved to the on-line world: you can be at mass in almost any country from the comfort of your favourite chair!
However, not everyone has access to these modern miracles, leaving many feeling isolated or left behind. Many families have struggled throughout the various lockdowns for a huge variety of reasons. Loved ones have passed from this world and we have not been able to grieve them as we would like. The issues and problems and divisions of our modern way of life have been highlighted and have challenged us to seek new ways of living as the lockdown is eased.
I have been amazed at how we have adapted to these challenges and have found ways to make things better for all people. The Pandemic of 2020-21 has been a re-set for our world. The heroes of the pandemic have worked quietly caring for those in the ICUs, delivering essential items to the shops, teachings kids via screens, emptying bins, keeping the power flowing and countless other jobs that are not regarded as glamorous, well paid or even respected!
As we enter Jerusalem, prepare for the Last Supper, walk the way of the Cross, stand at Calvary, see the blood and water flow from his side, take him to the tomb and hear the gentle call of our name outside an empty tomb, we can take with us the journey of the past year as well. The celebrations and birthdays that have been missed, the meals not shared, the visits that have not taken place and many other routines missed, changed, cancelled for part of our Holy Week this year. Last year Holy Week was on-line, this year we can gather in limited numbers. We have all made sacrifices this past year and this can help us understand the mysteries of Holy Week better.
I hope and pray, that this time next year our celebrations will be more joyful, full of life and people! As we prepare to leave lockdown, again, let us reflect on the world we are re-entering and be prepared to work for justice for all, for economies that care for the poorest, for an ecology that seeks to nurture no exploit our world.
May we all have a reflective and inspiring Holy Week as we journey with Jesus from the gates of Jerusalem to the garden of the Resurrection!