I watched Beauty and the Beast this weekend and I’ve been turning one lyric over and over in my mind ever since. “How in the midst of all this sorrow can so much hope and love endure?” (from ‘Days in the Sun’) For several reasons, it seemed to be the perfect phrase to carry into this Holy Week.
In the midst of experiencing again the Passion of Jesus Christ, how can we still find hope and love? When I read the news, how can I find hope and love in the events of strife and discord? In tragedy on a personal or community level, how can I wade through the hurt and find hope?
The short answer is that it is difficult to do, but it must be possible. It isn’t a matter of denying the pain or sorrow. The Lord knew we would experience pain. He understands the depths of feeling forsaken and abandoned. His closest friends fell asleep during His moments of great agony. When soldiers came to arrest Him, the apostles all fled. Jesus isn’t asking us to deny pain or to act like it doesn’t impact us. Rather, He is asking us to choose to find the Resurrection in the midst of every crucifixion. Or, at the very least, to acknowledge that there will be a Resurrection, even if death seems to be victorious right now.
Holy Week is a beautiful time of entering into the suffering that merited our salvation. I always look forward to the Triduum and yet it has a way of twisting my heart. On Holy Thursday, I enter into the warmth of the Upper Room and share in the Lord’s first Eucharistic feast. Then, I follow Him to Gethsemane and try to stay awake as we wait. Good Friday I usually feel an ache in my heart as the bare altar and empty tabernacle proclaim the sobering reality of His death. Holy Saturday is a time of waiting and waiting. Finally, we enter into the Easter vigil and Easter Sunday as we celebrate Christ who conquered sin and death.
The joy of Easter Sunday is only possible when we go through the death of Jesus. The Lord desires to bring about the same transformation in our own lives. He wants to infuse the hope and joy that new life will come from this place of death. Nothing is wasted. All will be used by the Lord for our greater good and His greater glory.
“How in the midst of all this sorrow can so much hope and love endure?”
Because Jesus Christ suffered, died, and rose from the dead. If that is possible, the good Lord can bring new life from any situation.