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  • Writer's pictureLuigi Gioia

Ligthing A Candle

Today is not a day like any other. Christians all over the world, together with their elder brothers and sisters, the Jewish people, enter into a several-day long celebration that they call passage, Passover. Believers and unbelievers alike are familiar with the name by which it is designated in our calendars, Easter, although for most it is just a synonym for spring holiday.

During this celebration, believers retell stories of events that happened thousands of years ago and perform gestures that have to do with fire, water, candles, bread, wine, washing of hands and feet. Each year they are supposed to repeat these gestures – and each year -as the book of Exodus says- a key role will be performed by the child who asks: “What does this ceremony mean?” (Exodus 12.26)

The answer to this question is not a theory but a story that retells what God has done for us whenever the passage of a sea, or the overcoming of a trial seemed impossible and he came to our rescue.

When I want to mark a special anniversary in my relation with the person I love, I cook a meal. To convey to a guest that he is welcome, I pour her a drink and offer her the most comfortable armchair in my living room – just as, had I lived in the ancient Middle East, I would have washed her feet.

Jesus washes our feet, we do the same with each other and then eat bread, drink wine, and later in the week gather around a fire, and lit a candle. This year we will have to renounce to some of these gatherings and gestures, but we can still cook a meal and eat it as a family in a spirit of thanksgiving, reach out by phone or skype to those who are alone, lit a candle in our home as a sign of our faith and our hope: however dark the night, a small flame is enough to see where we put our foot and safely advance one step at the time. It is just another ‘passage’ in our lives and we know that the Lord who has been with us in all the previous Easters, will rescue us this time too.

We need these small gestures, all the more now that we are deprived of the possibility of celebrating Easter in churches. This year we cannot celebrate Easter in churches, but we can still celebrate it as a church, as the community of those who are united to each other by their trust in God, and committed to support each other in our present passage.


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