Grace mercy and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,c
Text for the Sunday of the Passion is Matthew 26:1-27:66.
Brothers and Sisters In Christ Jesus,
Because of the current health crisis we are suddenly forced to change many of our usual routines and give up many of the things that we have grown use to and enjoy. That includes being able to gather together as has been our usual custom for worship. Actually though the usual custom of the Church for the Season of Lent is just that. We give up each Lent season certain parts of our worship for a time, the signing of the hymns of praise and of the alleluias. Lent is a time to reflect about the sacrifice that Christ made and to put away the earthly distractions so that we can concentrate on the joy that we have in Christ Jesus.
It if very easy to be caught up in the current situation. We suffer from worry because we may not have access to what we think we need to support our life. Will we continue be able to find what we need at the store? will we continue to be able to go out to buy things? will we have money to do that if we are unable to work? Even if we have food and other necessities we are alone at home and unable to go out. We are no longer as free as we once were. Worry about all these things can make it difficult to focus on what Christ has done, but that is precisely the point of Lent, and of Holy Week. Christ suffered all these things and more for us.
Holy week after all is about remembering the death of Christ. Rather than our sufferings, the deaths of those suffering from the virus or the fear of our own deaths, overshadowing the death of Christ, the suffering and death of Christ should overshadow our suffering. Everything we now suffer, Christ has already suffered for us and more.
We may be lonely under self isolation, but Christ was truly alone. He was betrayed by one of his closest disciples, and though the others promised to be with him to the end, they all including Peter left him there alone on the cross. The people who praise him on Palm Sunday turn against him on the cross, and as they insult him it seems that Christ is even forsaken by God. He suffers alone, separated from his friends, the people he came to save from the disease of sin and death, and he dies alone, and is placed in the tomb.
Yet all this is only the divine form of social distancing. He did not have to be alone like that. St. Paul tells us (in the Epistle Philippians 2:5-11 that though "he was in the form of God" he humbled himself. He chose to be alone to give up the joy and fellowship of heaven to be our savior. Our self imposed isolation can not really compare to his isolation for us, but it can serve as a reminder. We suffer a little, but Christ suffered everything willingly for us.
Even though we think we are alone, we are not in reality. Christ is still with us. We are still together with Christ as his Church Even through he was forsaken, God has not forsaken us. We may feel alone, but Christ is always with us now at his Father's right hand. We may fear death, but he has already experienced it and overcome it for us. Although we as his Church may be separated for a time from others here on earth, we know that we will together be united with him forever in heaven.