Good Friday Preaching by Elise D. García, OP April 10, 2020 Isaiah 52:13-53:12 Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9 John 18:1 – 19:42 And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. We have reached the barren hour in the Passion of Christ. The cross – a crucible of suffering and love – is laid bare. Like the three Marys, we stand at its foot, barely able to absorb the horror of its brutality – and seeming finality. As we enter our fourth week of sheltering in place, our entire world has become a crucible of suffering and love. More than a million people around the globe have contracted the coronavirus, roughly half of those in the United States. The death toll has reached 100,000 worldwide, including many women and men who contracted the virus as they provided loving care to sick patients. While the numbers are numbing, the anguish is intimate: A beloved grandfather dying alone in a hospital. A nurse staying away from home to protect her children. An undocumented migrant fearful of seeking needed medical attention. A Latina with diabetes and her African-American friend who suffers from hypertension, among the many people of color disproportionately impacted by the virus – as the pandemic exploits the vulnerabilities wrought by epidemics of racism. This barren hour will extend for days to come. Bodies are being piled in freezer trucks, too many to lay in a tomb. Like the three Marys, we stand at the foot of the cross, barely able to absorb the horror of this global crucible of suffering and love. Like the three Marys, we remain , accompanying in our hearts and prayer the crucified ones and all those who daily risk their lives, providing healthcare, food, sanitation and other essential services to us all. And like the three Marys, may we rise in the fullness of time to anoint the bodies and tend to the new life that will emerge. A new life where we are able – perhaps as never before – to preach that ancient truth: We are all One body, held in Divine Love. “We are caught…” Dr. Martin Luther King wrote years ago from a jail in Birmingham: “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” In this epic crucible of suffering and loss, may we each enter into a new depth dimension, feeling ourselves cloaked in the single garment of the whole Earth community – and held in the saving embrace of Love incarnate.