Mar
30

The Journey of Grief: A Good Friday-Easter Sunday Reflection

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Jesus announces that his “hour” had come. (John 20:23) His hour a point in His ministry. His ministry on earth is at an end and now He begins his return home to the Father after completing his mission on earth. He assures his disciples that his death will be the source of life to all who believe. illustrates this with the parable of the seed dying which makes way for a rich harvest, the first fruits of which will be his glorification and the sending of the life-giving Holy Spirit.
Yet Jesus shudders to the depth of his soul at the thought of his approaching crucifixion and appears to be saying “I don’t know what to say.” But his real prayer is “Father, save me from this hour.” With this prayer he begs the Father to bring him through his ordeal safely to his glorification. God’s voice reassures him the He is with his son every step of the way.
Jesus told us that as disciples we must follow his path and reassures us that He will be with us in our “hour of need.”
Our “hour” is not only our hour of death however, it is also any hour that involves great sacrifice and loss such as death of a loved one.
The Gospel offers a perspective on our grief journey that life requires us to travel. Learning to trust Jesus to accompany us gives us the assurance that like Jesus’ “hour” we will journey through darkness to light.
Sadly, our death denying culture often obstructs the light that God provides. The “Let’s pretend this death hasn’t happened” approach manifests itself in many ways, from the unreal atmosphere of many of our funeral homes, the dressing up of the body to give appearance of sleep, our reluctance to let go of a loved one even though everything has been done to no avail and our assurance to the bereaved that time will heal.
Personally, I find the last one about time healing especially troublesome, after years of ministry to the bereaved I have never found time that heals. Time doesn’t heal, we go to our graves with the wounds of grief. As Jesus carried his wounds to his resurrection, I expect we will too. Contrary to our death-denying culture, we never “get over it.” Grief cannot be fixed.
For us Christians, the “hour” of Jesus offers a way of accepting loss that will allow us to grow in confidence and awareness that God is journeying with us and that as the grain dies it will produce a rich harvest. Because once you love someone they will remain with us always.
In our hour of grief the Lord takes us by the hand and guides us through the wilderness, a journey that will lead to a new life.
Fr. David