Palm Sunday marks our entrance into Holy Week, preparing us for the Triduum. It is a strange celebration that starts with acclamations of joy intoned by the same voices who then condemn Jesus to death, all in the one celebration…as we start our journey through Holy Week. It is a journey from words into silence: Jesus’ public life, over three years, gradually moves from speaking, and healing and explaining, to less words and more giving, less caution and more courage. His silence before Pilate speaks volumes. So, as we come closer to the end of our Lenten journey, the invitation is to look, watch, wait here, staying near to him. Fewer words and more presence: let us walk closely, and observe the One “who loved us and gave his life for us” (cf. Gal 2:20).”

We are moving into, or already living in, a world that is more silent, more lonely – especially as the months stretch out ahead of us with no known end in sight. And we do not know how things will be when we emerge from this. That is the simple truth we are already beginning to realise: how we understand life, the economy, our control of the future (or lack thereof), the fragility of things, especially life, Church, the meaning of the Eucharist, is changing and will not be the same. There is an insightful series of reflections on how people are feeling this on the NCR series The Church after Coronavirus. It addresses issues of community, Church governance, and the Church’s social mission. While only an initial and tentative polyphony of opinions, they are well worth reading.

Well, here’s hoping things do change and that at the heart of it all as we seek God more, we also turn back to our better selves, to the persons were were meant to be, the communities we are called to become. Today’s first reading speaks of a God who not only became one of us, but became servant: open hands, heart, life, willing to “not hold on to” what could have seemed essential. That is the type of human beings we are made to be: open, for, at the service of, others.

This week, I find myself thinking about pray for those whose hope is challenged, whose world has turned dark.

The song accompanying this week’s prayer was inspired by Pope Francis’ prayer for the Year of Mercy and tries to evoke the experience and prayer of those who lose their hope in life and cry out for help: one of the illnesses of our time, when life turns dark and the will to live fails. I invite you to listen to a song that tries to express this. It can be found at this link, and  is called: In the Pouring Rain (Lament).