Today, Black Saturday, Christians all over the world mourn in silence the death of Jesus Christ, the Son of Man “who gave himself as ransom for all” [1 Tim 2:6]. It is the day, when the Apostles, having heard about the arrest and eventual crucifixion of their Lord and master, were struck with fear and panic. To allay their fear, they gathered together in the Upper room and sought refuge with Mary, the mother of Christ.
As we ponder on the narrative of the first black Saturday, we see today a striking similarity. It is, as if, in one fell swoop, all the dreams of humanity have been snatched by the COVID 19 pandemic. Everyone is cowering in fear given the looming darkness of uncertainty. Indeed, left to our own selves, only darkness and terror will reign in our hearts.
But the good news is that the Easter Vigil celebration will usher in “a new fire” which will light the Paschal candle, symbolizing the light of Christ coming into the world. The gospel of the apostle Matthew will re-live the scene where the resurrected Jesus Christ appears to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary and tells them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me [Matt 28:10]”.
For all of us still caught up in isolation, the words of Jesus certainly provide the much needed consolation and hope for better times ahead.
I would like to continue with my commentary on St. Josemaria Escriva’s book, The Way.
Point # 2 May your behavior and your conversation be such that everyone who sees or hears you can say: This man reads the life of Christ.
For me, the verse above encapsulates a father’s love and desire for his child to develop good character. From a Christian family’s point of view, of course, the ideal would be to become like Christ. Hence, St. Josemaria, in Point #2, poses a challenge for the reader to get to know Jesus. How to do it? Let me share some ideas.
Firstly, take advantage of the free time during this quarantine, by setting aside 10 minutes each day to read up on the four gospel narratives as written by St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John. I would caution, however, that you not read the whole section in one sitting. It does not pay to binge on reading the bible.
Secondly, as St. Josemaria would advise: put yourself into the shoes of the characters in the same gospel scene with Christ. This will enable you to be more familiar with Christ. For example, when you turn to the gospel of the fifth Sunday of Lent, you will realize that Our Lord was very human like us, when Jesus wept after seeing Mary weep, as they were going to the tomb of Lazarus.
Lastly, try to savor the gospel scene by reading it with love and reverence. Over time, you will be happily surprised that, whenever you turn to a gospel scene, you have found a friend, Jesus Christ. He loved us first, now, it is your turn to correspond.