After the challenge and betrayal of Holy Thursday, the suffering and death of Good Friday, how am I to reconcile the joy of Easter? Taken separately, I cannot. The Church never meant that I should. That is why we celebrate them as though they were one event, which we call Triduum, or three days.
God loved us into existence. That existence is not without its challenges, pain, sorrow, and joy. The only constant is the love that created us in the first place. This existence is absolutely unstable except for that one constant: God’s love for us. We are not meant to embrace or even stabilize the unstable. We are asked to move through it while embracing what is constant. Jesus’ agony at Gethsemane was his life at its most unstable – his disciples did not understand what he was about; he was being betrayed by one of them, he was about to be arrested and executed, and from the human point of view, he would have to suffer these things without the comfort of human companionship. But he embraced God’s will, surrendering himself to the unstable for the sake of maintaining the constant.
Then it was revealed that the constant was stronger even than death. It is only after the instability of life and death that Easter joy is possible. The victory of God’s love for us, transcending even death, is the fulfillment of our hopes, the reason for confronting and passing through the unstable to reach the constant.
--Fr. Patrick Michaels,
Pastor, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church,
Mill Valley, California
Image source: Chinese artist He Qui, He is Risen