The cross doesn’t obviate suffering but calls us to respond with perfumes of consolation

“While it was yet dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb,” we learn in the Gospel of John. “Yet dark” is an apt description for what we are living through in the age of covid-19, amid so much fear and sorrow.

The first Easter is a reminder that many of us come to our morning of hope through our own dark Via Dolorosa — way of suffering. We remember that the first disciples were filled with anxiety, living under the shadow of death and forced to “quarantine” to preserve their lives.

The resurrection does not obviate the cross of Christ or human suffering. Instead, the resurrection calls us to acknowledge the suffering and then to respond with perfumes of consolation. Easter, after all, is a time to show love and human solidarity. And although this crisis may require our presence to be virtual, it is no less important.

We console with prayers and intercession for those living with the coronavirus, and for those who have lost a loved one. We respond through our prayers of protection for doctors, nurses and first responders, as well as truck drivers and farmers who provide us with nourishment. We offer solidarity by praying and advocating for the elderly, the incarcerated, immigrants and refugees who may be forgotten during times of crisis.

Mary Magdalene realized the glory and peace of the resurrection only because she first dared to face the suffering of the tomb. What gives us license to celebrate life is the fact that we have first learned to mourn. This Easter, we remember that hope does not ignore fear, lament, pain or sorrow. It does remind us that they will not have the last word.

Gabriel Salguero is pastor at Calvario City Church in Orlando and is the president and founder of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition.

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