“In the tomb they laid you, Christ, who are life,” chant the living, thinking of their own death, hoping for Resurrection.
In the midst of a pandemic, Good Friday’s Graveside Lamentation touches us all, whether we are believers or not. When we remember loved ones lost, when we think of those fighting for their lives, when we consider our common fate.
Isolation forces us to redefine our relationship with society and with ourselves. When we cannot go to church or family celebrations, we seek the universal, the spiritual inside us.
In our loneliness, in the overturning of our daily lives, we realize how much we depend on each other, on each one’s contribution to the collective effort to conquer isolation and fear.
Those who find themselves alone are called on to endure, to fill their homes with memories of joy and with hope. The television set is on all day, with reruns of popular shows interrupted by bulletins with reports of more contagion and death.
A grandmother bakes cookies for grandchildren without knowing when she will see them. We greet each other from afar. We live behind walls, through our screens, we measure freedom in doses regulated by phone messages.
The unpredictable virus is a challenge to all humanity. Like a stress test, it reveals strengths and weaknesses – not only of leaders, governments and ideologies, but of each one of us.
Presidents, doctors, nurses, shop employees, celebrities of sports and showbiz are evaluated for their contributions. No one is out of the line of fire. The pandemic separates the wheat from the chaff.
Just as we can see which leaders are useful to their country and the world, and which make problems worse, we judge each other. We need to know who is serious in politics, in society, in our own circle of family and friends.
The Graveside Lamentation is an expression of supreme love. The love of a mother for her child, the love of Christ for humanity. Through his death he offers mortals the promise of life.
This Good Friday calls on us, too, to see life in these terms: to think of those who love us and those we love; to see how we will show our love to them and to those whom we do not know. We must try to be better, to offer more. Through lamentation we come to wisdom.