This morning Pope Francis celebrated mass in the Vatican as usual. Moved by compassion and by today’s gospel, he has called today the ‘Sunday of tears”.
“I am thinking of the many people who are weeping”, Pope Francis said, introducing the liturgy for the Fifth Sunday of Lent at the Casa Santa Marta chapel. People who are isolated, in quarantine, the elderly; people who are alone, in the hospital, parents who do not foresee receiving their salary and do not know how they will feed their children, he continued.
Yesterday I read the shockingly painful story of an Indian man who died, presumably of exhaustion as he tried to walk over 250 kilometres to get home.
In these shocking times it makes us think what our ancestors must have gone through during famines and wars and indeed what people in the world’s third world countries go through all years around.
It seems sad that only when suffering hits the western world do our governments react so boldly and with such concerns.
Has God allowed this to humble us all and to opening our hearts?
It seems that it’s a sad human reality that our ability to empathize with others pain only comes when we can relate personally to their pain.
It’s so easy at a funeral to say ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ but if you too know the pain of losing someone, your ‘sorry’ can be a true and heartfelt source of comfort.
Indeed before my own conversion story I was no different!
“Very sorry, bla bla bla, now have to go, people to meet, things to do, bye bye!!”
Some of this comes from the fact that often us westerners don’t actually know how to behave or how to handle our emotions in these times!
Often we are ‘fix-its’ but when we can’t fix the situation like we might a flat tyre that leaves us feeling awkward, empty and useless. We want to get out of there as fast as possible!
Secondly we are often not comfortable in crying. Years may have taught us to stay strong and not to cry in case everyone starts crying!!
Yet what’s wrong with that ? Maybe everyone needs a good cry to grieve and to let out the pain?! Why block them and ourselves?!
And if you are a man the pressure is even worse unless you are a gay like me when of course you can get away with it because you are not a proper man anyway!!
Or are you? Maybe you are more of a man?!
Anyway, today the Pope is inviting us to feel the pain and to cry. He doesn’t want us burying our emotions or keeping so busy with work and other distractions that we can’t feel the pain.
He invites us to feeling it and to both expressing it with and to Jesus.
Jesus too cried and when we cry like this the healing love and comfort of God enters our soul.
We can’t fix the situation but through our compassionate hearts we can pray for the situation and trust that through these prayers that God will somehow fix it.
Prayer is real, prayer is powerful and prayer is tangible.
No matter who you are and how far away you feel from God, today you can make a difference through your prayers and tears.
As you cry, you soak up some of the pain of others like a sponge soaking up water and as you pray you replace that pain with God’s love and comfort. There is great power in blessings.
Crying is good for your own emotional and mental health too. It’s the spiritual equivalent of going to the toilet if you like!
As you cry your spirit discharges all the emotions built up in your system and afterwards you feel that you can move on.
Any grief counselor will say the same! Tears heal our hearts!
And so today let us open our hearts and cry and lament about the pain. Let us let it out, let us not put on a brave face and pretend that we are ok. Let us not be ashamed to care, to cry and even to cry in public as Jesus did.
And afterwards let us pray and pray with the faith and heart that come from pain.
Let us pray for healing miracles for our church and world, let us pray for miracles of conversions and of consolation for the dying and as Jesus resurrected Lazarus from the dead, He will surely resurrect our broken world too.
Blessings, healing and God’s supernatural comfort and peace to all!
Thanks for reading!