The tabernacle is empty.
Last night’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper was a beautiful liturgy. The incense. Glorious music. Washing of the feet. Procession and repose.
The tabernacle is empty and there is an uneasy aching in my heart, a sense that something – no, someone – is missing. But my discomfort leaves quickly. I know that in a couple days the tabernacle will hold my best friend and savior. All will be as it should be – as it must be.
But today, the tabernacle is empty.
It is Good Friday. On the morning traffic report, they announced there would be road closures in a couple places in Chicago today. There will be living Stations of the Cross and traffic will be diverted. What beautiful signs of faith in the midst of the secular city.
In cities across North America and in countries around the world, Regnum Christi missionaries are in the streets evangelizing, reenacting Christ’s passion, gathering prayer intentions, inviting people to church.
The joy and enthusiasm of these missionaries calms my uneasiness and give me hope. How unlike the actual Passion of 2000 years past.
I sometimes think it must have been easy to believe in Christ – for those who met him physically, face to face, in the flesh, sharing a meal, walking along the road from one town to the next. They didn’t just hear about Jesus, they knew him up close and personal.
My friendship takes a great leap of faith. But I know something the disciples of 2000 years ago didn’t know; I know how the story ends.
They must have felt a thousand times emptier than I feel today. Their friend and savior was nailed on a cross and died and they didn’t know he would rise from the dead. Oh, they had been told, but the miracle had yet to occur. They were not certain and the ghastly scene that unfolded before them overwhelmed all but the strongest of the faithful.
On Good Friday 2000 years ago, nearly everyone was a doubting Thomas. At the foot of the cross, only one apostle, the mother and the woman whose sins were forgiven remained.
Most ran and hid, unlike today’s Mission Youth, who take to the streets to share the Good News. The disciples feared that everything they had come to believe had died on the cross with Christ. We know Christ defeated death and paid for our sins.
Yes, today the tabernacle is empty…but not for long.