These past weeks prior to Holy Week, like many others, I’ve been watching the NCAA basketball tournament games leading up to the “Final Four.” After each game, there is the celebration of the winning team and also the experience of loss for the team that did not “make the Final Four.”
It occurred to me as I observed the loss and devastation of the team that did not move on to the next game, Holy Week is a week during which we recognize our losses. And our losses, as humans, are many: a game, financial security, health, a job, reputation, dignity, relationships, a child, a parent, life as we once knew it … The litany is endless. We remember that Jesus experienced the depth of human loss. He endured the most excruciating loss of all – the sense of being totally deserted, forsaken. “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me,” he cried.
But Jesus remembered, and we also remember Abba’s promise to us in the words from Jeremiah (31:13) used as the responsorial psalm on the Saturday before Palm Sunday:
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will console and gladden them after their sorrows.
And in this, we have hope, even in the midst of our deepest loss and sorrow, even if it is only the tiniest glimmer of light in the darkness.
Anne Sur, OP
East Dubuque, IA