PRAYER - STUDY - ACTION
April 5-12, 2020
The Lenten season is coming to a close and our experience of Holy Week means facing unflinchingly the suffering and isolation, anxiety and disruption that the coronavirus pandemic has brought us. We carry the trauma -- physical, mental, economic, spiritual -- as Jesus labors under the weight of the cross.
As overwhelming as this moment may be, Jesus walks the way of sorrows with us, and models for us a faith that is rooted in the evidence of things unseen and unheard, and yet tightly held onto nevertheless.
Easter feels a long way away. The central mystery of our faith that suffering and death are not final offers little consolation as we worry for loved ones who are sick, grieve family and friends who have died, fear the loss of our jobs and bills that go unpaid, and feel acutely the distance that separates us as we shelter alone. We find ourselves, I think, in a not-so-different space than the one that the early discipleship community found itself: struggling in the midst of loss, grief and uncertainty; gripped by a state of confusion in that time between the cross and the empty tomb.
As we enter Holy Week, we hope that in some small way, you feel the accompaniment of others with the Pax Christi USA family. We hope that the opportunities we have provided for Lent -- and especially since the onset of the pandemic -- have offered some measure of solidarity, that you are not praying, study or acting alone; that even when we are in our homes and physically separated from one another, we are nevertheless still "together". We are community to one another, the body of Christ in the world, and we'll be there to continue walking with you in the days, weeks and months ahead.
You can find additional opportunities to respond to the coronavirus pandemic at
and all of our earlier resources for
Lent are archived on our
special Lenten webpage
Peace be to each of you during Holy Week. And thank you for the witness you have maintained and modeled throughout these difficult times. Such times are exactly why we strive to be the peace of Christ in the world today.
Executive Director, Pax Christi USA
by Lynn Ungar
(We invite you to prayerfully offer up the words of this poem.)
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath --
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still, reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another's hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love--
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
A reflection for Palm/Passion Sunday, April 5
by Rev. Joseph Nangle, ofm, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace
[Ed. Note: This new, original reflection by Joe is written in light of the coronavirus pandemic.]
"And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked,
'Who is this?'" ~Matthew 21:10
By The Benedictine
Sisters of Turvey Abbey
The final entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, which we celebrate today, Palm Sunday, was a profile in courage. It was also an example for all of us in the midst of this pandemic.
From the moment Jesus appeared publicly in Galilee and then in Judea, he was seen as a threat to the status quo of his country. Early on after his challenging words to his neighbors in the synagogue of Nazareth they wanted to hurl him from the top of the hill on which their village was built. As his public ministry unfolded, he was frequently in conflict with the religious-political authorities of his country, condemning them for their "pious" duplicity - holding the people to a lengthy set of rigid rules while ignoring God's basic mandates themselves.
Later on we hear Jesus advising his disciples that he would ultimately go to Jerusalem and there be mistreated, beaten and killed by those same authorities. Then shortly before that final entry into the city, his disciples warned him against going near there, even when the sisters of his friend Lazarus had sent word from a town near the city that their brother was dying.
Jesus surely must have known as well that shortly after he had miraculously called Lazarus from the tomb, the chief priests and the Pharisees held an emergency meeting where their leader told them that it would be better for one man to die than for the whole nation to perish. Such was their mortal fear of Jesus's growing influence among ordinary people.
And yet as we read in the Gospel of St. Luke (Chapter 9:51), Jesus resolutely set his face toward Jerusalem. Nothing and no one could turn him back
1. Join us on Good Friday at 12pm ET for a Virtual Way of the Cross for Economic and Ecological Justice!
Join with PCUSA members from around the nation alongside many of our partners for this virtual Way of the Cross.
Click here for more information and to RSVP.
2. Sign the Statement on Anti-Asian Racism in the Time of COVID-19. As incidents of hate crimes increase and we see racist rhetoric like the labeling of the coronavirus as the "Chinese virus" by President Trump, Pax Christi USA encourages its members to sign onto this statement and offer our solidarity with our Asian American members and the entire Asian American community.
The statement begins, "We, the undersigned, join together as Asian American Christians and community leaders to denounce the current rise in overt anti-Asian racism throughout our country. We call for an immediate end to the xenophobic rhetoric, hate crimes, and violence against our people and communities. We invite all Americans to join us in combating these contagions and work with us for the welfare of all."
Click here to read and sign the statement.
We know that this is a very difficult time for many of us and that there are a number of organizations who are performing direct service to provide support for people who are sick, unemployed, and otherwise struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic. We honor whatever choices you make during this time and recognize that we are all in this together. If you can also contribute and help support Pax Christi USA during this time, we'd be grateful. Just click the button above and to the left to give securely and quickly online. Thank you!