I live in a relatively small space. For mostly sentimental reasons, I’ve kept a few pieces of furniture that used to belong to my grandmother, Eileen “Nana” MacGeorge. Nana passed away January 21, 2005, just one week shy of her 99th birthday. Today I gave away one of those pieces of furniture, an old worn wooden desk that actually had been a vanity at its birth many decades ago.
I wanted to give it away rather than sell it, and so posted it on the DC Freecycle group. Just a short while ago, a young woman named Ali came by to pick it up. She and her husband and two children have recently moved from the city to the suburbs and they’re working on filling their larger living quarters as inexpensively as possible. As we were taking the desk down in the elevator and I told her of its history, she asked what Nana’s name was. “Well, she said, it’ll be the Eileen desk!” After putting it in her vehicle and shaking hands, she said with a smile, “Thank you Tim; it’ll be well-loved.”
Recently the father of a good friend of mine passed away. Although I didn’t know my friend’s dad, I know that he raised at least one wonderful son in my friend, who is a genuinely good, loving, and kind-hearted man.
These two unrelated events — the giving away of a desk that evokes my grandmother’s memory and the passing away of a friend’s father — seem so relevant as we enter this week we Christians call “Holy.” Beginning with the fanfare of Palm/Passion Sunday, Holy Week culminates in the celebration of the Sacred Three Days — the Triduum — as we liturgically live once again through the deepest mysteries of Christian faith, the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus.
As Catholics, we believe that our liturgical rites are note merely commemorations of those events from two thousand years ago. They are not simply a re-telling of what has been told and re-told over the centuries. No, Liturgy in the Catholic world (as well as other traditions) transcends time and place and pulls us in once again to what Life is really all about. If we have eyes to see and ears to hear and hands to touch and hearts to love, then this cycle of life invites us deeper and deeper into the Mystery that is God.
May Eileen and “Bud” rest in peace, and may this Holy Week be for us, our communities and our world and time of blessing, joy and peace.