Journeying Together is a weekly series of Lenten reflections. Each Monday during Lent, a student or adult from the Prep community will share a reflection, which will be archived here. Our final, Easter Monday reflection comes from Mr. John Dougherty, director of campus ministry.
This year’s Easter Gospel inspired one of my favorite pieces of religious art: Eugène Burnand’s Peter and John Running to the Tomb (1898). In it, St. John (the “beloved disciple”) and our namesake, St. Peter, hurry to Jesus’ tomb after hearing Mary Magdalene’s report that it is empty. Their faces are a collage of emotion: concern, anticipation, confusion, and desperate hope. You can imagine them thinking: Can it be? After all we’ve been through, after all of the pain and sorrow and heartbreak, can it really be? Is He truly risen?
As we begin our fifth week of social distancing, I find myself stuck in the same moment of anticipation, breath caught in my throat, not sure if I dare to hope. My life, like all of yours, has been disrupted. There’s still so much to be grateful for – if nothing else, this has been a wonderful chance to spend time with my family – but I’m also keenly aware of the opportunities our Prep community is missing, the experiences that we won’t be able to share. Even though we’re doing the right thing to “flatten the curve,” there’s some real grief in losing so much of our year together at Grand and Warren.
But it is important to remember that the Gospel story doesn’t leave the apostles in suspense. They reach the tomb and find it empty, Jesus’ burial cloths (the wrappings that would have gone around a dead body) discarded. They don’t see the risen Christ in this scene, but they now have a tangible sign of hope. I have also been clinging to those tangible signs: the sacrifices that I see friends and family making everyday to support one another, while doing what’s best for the common good; the acts of service and kindness that our students perform from their homes; the dedication of teachers and staff; the messages from parents and alumni asking how they can help. These signs remind me that while we may be in the midst of darkness now, the dawn is coming.
So don’t lose hope. Our faith tells us that darkness is not the final word, that even death isn’t the ultimate reality. On Easter we remember that out of the sorrow of the Passion came the glory of Resurrection, and that new life is promised to us as well. Trust in that promise, keep the faith, and hold onto those signs of hope, even if they’re very small. Christ has risen, and so will we.
You can find all of our weekly Journeying Together reflections here.