March 29, 2020
They took up stones therefore to cast at Him: but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.
John 8:59, the last words of the Gospel of Passion Sunday
Today is the commencement of Passiontide, the final two weeks of Lent, when Our Lord in a very literal sense hides Himself from our view. From now until the Easter Vigil, all the statues and images in our churches will be covered, with the crucifixes being revealed during the liturgy of Good Friday. The veiled statues are a somber reminder that Our Lord is withdrawing from us, and will soon be totally removed from our sight. The medieval French bishop Durandus connects the veiling of the statues with the way that Christ veiled His divinity during His Passion. As the prophet Isaiah says, “as one from whom men hide their faces, He was despised, and we esteemed Him not” (53:3).
It seems that Passiontide began early for most of us this year. We are already suffering separation from Christ as we bear with the suspension of public Masses due to the coronavirus, and perhaps the coming of Passiontide will bring home to us the potential fruits of this separation. Through her yearly removal of Christ from us, the Church desires not only to call the historical events of Christ’s Passion to our minds, but also, perhaps, to reinvigorate that love for Him that often goes lukewarm in us throughout the year. The longer, deeper, more trying separation brought by the coronavirus further allows us time to reflect on the ways in which we have taken His Presence among us for granted, and how we have failed to love the Blessed Sacrament as we ought. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder, and perhaps when this is all over, when we are reunited to our absent Lord at last, a renewal of love and faith will occur in our own hearts, in those who have fallen away from Him, and maybe even in those who have never known Him. So stay strong, faithful friends. Our Easter will come. +
Livestreamed Masses available today and every day at LiveMass.
Cover photo of FSSP Warrington and inline photo of Warrington’s Eleventh Station by John Aron.