Dear Everyone, April 24, 2014
Well, Easter is over, come and gone and it has been, for me, a busy time but also a time or deeper reflection especially watching the so-called “faithful” who were attending the services, knowing that each one had his or her own personal problems and challenges in his or her own life and were looking for strength and help in order to deal with them in a good way, as it were, in God’s eyes.
On Holy Thursday I washed the feet of a Zulu man who was in a wheelchair and another Zulu patient who was mobile but hospitalized. I knew that they were thinking of their families and would have longed to be anywhere but here in the hospital, but…. I am sure that they never could have dreamt that they would see the priest up close and personal like this, an umlungu (white man) on top of it, washing their feet. Holy Moses, what is the world coming to. Then there was an off duty nurse (also Zulu) and two sisters, one Zulu and one German, both nurses at St. Mary’s hospital. It has been my custom for many years now to wash the feet of 3 men and 3 boys (males), and three women and three girls (females), so it was nice to know that the Pope and I are on the same page in that respect. I don’t know if the patients were catholic or not but I am sure that God was not in the mood for making fine distinctions that evening. It was a good reminder of what the world needs, more than the symbolic washing of each other’s feet, but really taking time to help one another in our various needs according to our abilities.
Then, Good Friday, we made the stations of the Cross, e.g. the imaginary way that Christ walked on his way to his cricufixion at Calvary. There are 14 stations, the first one being that Jesus is condemned to death by pilate. Each station has a short reflection and a prayer. This particular way of the cross, as it is also called, was trying to look at this way of the cross through Mary’s eyes, Jesus mother. How would a mother feel if her son, whom she raised as a child, and who had always been a good kid and a good grown man as well, going out of his way to help and heal people. How could they do this to my son, you could imagine her saying. An how many mothers are doing exactly the same thing today in so many countries where there is so much violence and where the youngsters are caught up in it, often just because they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I won’t go through all the other stations but they end with Jesus being taken down from the cross and being put in her arms. You can imagine her grief and sorrow. And, once again, how many mothers who have been given the bodies of their children who have been shot dead by the police or eliminated by some gang because he was out of his territory or whatever. Jesus suffers and weeps with those mothers because he surely loves those kids as much as or more than the mothers. Gives lots of things to think about how Jesus still suffers and is crucified in so many situations of violence and injustice in our own time.
Then, as usual, we had the normal service for Good Friday, which mainly focuses on the passion, which is usually read by several people who are then given time to reflect on what this willingness to die on Jesus’ part meant for us. How can one miss the point that “there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend.”
There is more to it but that is the main part.
Then comes Holy Saturday sliding into Easter Sunday (He is risen). I took the car to a friend who helped to clean up the headlights which were clouded over by some junk and then it was easier to see when the headlights had been cleaned up. I still don’t like driving at night because the lights from the oncoming cars really blind me, but if I don’t have to go too far and the street is more or less lighted up, I will chance it.
In the evening I was told we would start at 9pm with Imvuselelo, (wake). I was there at 8:40 and looked around to see if the wood for the Easter fire was there and ready, but nothing. So I just waited till about 9:30 and then asked again and was told that, actually, the service would start at 12 midnight. OK. So I went back home for a bit and came back and then we had a lovelly, happy, joyful celebration of Easter. Hope. Joy. Everyone has his or her problem that s/he is battling with and it is just a reassurance that no matter how impossible the situation may seem, like after Jesus death on the cross, all hopes crushed, there is still and always will be hope. By the time we finished and I got home and into bed it was 3:30am.
Sunday was spent visiting friends and EATING all kinds of foods and goodies, and discussing life and the world situation, etc. etc. etc Just nice socializing.
On Tuesday I caught a bus and went to Mthatha. I rode with another friend, Theresa, Chisanga, the head of the English Dept. at the University in Mthatha. (WUS—Walter Sisulu University)/ She was up in Durban to assist her daughter wiho had just given birth to her first child. We chatted and dozed. (You see what a normal like I live!!!) I re-connected with my own community there and it was nice. Between the time I arrived on Tuesday afternoon and left on Friday morning, I had given two haircuts (not much hair for us old timers any more), I visited Bedford and checked out things. Made contact with several people to wish them happy Easter and to reassure them that they are not forgotten and abandoned. But the main thing was a meeting with the trouble shooter from Eskom (Electricity suppliers). We have been trying to solve our problem with them for at least three years now and always there it a hitch. Well, I think that we finally succeeded in moving in a forward direction. We also had a long and fruitful discussion about the situation of Fr. Guy and our unhappiness with the response or non-response of the church and the authorities of Mariannhill for resolving his problem. There will be forward movement there too but it will not be so nice.
The ride home (back to Mariannhill from Mthatha—just over 300 miles) was uneventful. Fr. Malinga, a friend, came along and I dropped him off at his place, went to fill up the vehicle I brought back for the use of the Superior General when he comes, with petrol and got home just in time to try to get on the internet by 4pm only to find that I couldn’t get a signal no matter what I tried. Very Frustrating. I finally managed by changing to another sim card but it was also unsatisfactory. Here I am this morning and I have now given up getting a signal and am finishing this blog which I started yesterday, the 25th. I will try again later in the day when I go to town where I know that I can get a signal. I have a mass this afternoon for a young lady who is graduating. So that is about it for now. Never a dull moment. You can go back to sleep now after reading this long and boring epistle. Cas