The Gospel story of the disciples on their way to Emmaus is even more real this year, the year of the coronavirus pandemic. These unnamed disciples are trying to escape the confusion and turmoil of the days that saw the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. And then came stories of empty tombs and angel messengers. It is just better, they must of thought, that they get out of town.
We all are in the midst of confusion and turmoil. We all wonder how this crisis will play itself out. We look around to see so many sick and dying. We grieve for families never able to say a final farewell to those they love. Some, like me, wondered while in the throes of the virus’ ravages what separates me from those on life support.
The weeks following Easter have always provided time to meditate on what the Resurrection story means for us and our world. But truth be told, what did we really learn? Did it really matter? This year, the Resurrection story is raw. How do we come through so much death and suffering to find new life in Jesus, the Risen One?
The news of death counts and infection rates is our Golgotha. Yet I can’t stay there. Where I have chosen to go is to online virtual choral or orchestral performances. Individuals in their homes linking their voices and their musical talent to create a glorious noise unto the Lord. They tell me that within their very souls the Spirit lives. And when that Spirit searches to join with the Spirit of others in song and music, I know that life is greater than death. And for now, that’s all I can hold onto.
Robert Hotz is a consultant with American City Bureau, Inc. and was the Director of The Passion of Christ: The Love That Compels Campaign for Holy Cross Province.