Easter reflection (9 April 2020)
And so, this very strange Lenten season is ending and we follow Jesus through his Passion and Resurrection. The Easter triduum begins with Jesus washing the feet of the disciples who will soon abandon him. They are confused by this humble act of service so Jesus challenges them: “Do you understand what I have done to you?”
That feeling of confusion and uncertainty challenges us every Easter and perhaps more so this year. As we try to make sense of the Coronoavirus pandemic, we do not forget the hundreds of millions of people in countries without the most basic healthcare, for whom the concept of stock-piling food is a cruel joke, whose daily wage is barely enough for survival. In our necessary physical isolation, let us not isolate our hearts from their suffering this Easter.
I recall two people whose generosity inspires me because of their impoverishment.
There is the woman in Uganda caring for her brother who is dying a lonely and painful death from HIV/Aids. Lying on a bed in a room no bigger than a garden shed, he has been abandoned by everyone except his sister who has left her own family to tend her dying sibling in his final days.
The woman in India recounts, with tears streaming down her face, how, in her abject poverty, she is unable to pay for her daughter’s dowry. So she is forced to sell all she has – one of her kidneys. It will be used to give life to someone who is sick but also wealthy enough to afford the transplantation. Not so much a redistribution of wealth but of health.
“Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly: so I am. If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.” (John 13)
Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection is a love story. It tells of God’s love for us despite our impoverishment and sinfulness. A love even unto death. Do you understand?
Paul Chitnis, Director