Jesus is hidden. This week begins the Lenten season of Passiontide. Crosses and images are traditionally covered, and the readings point to the rising conspiracy against Jesus by his opponents. In our own time, things are difficult. For many of us, Jesus seems to be very hidden. Some of us have not received the Eucharist in two weeks or more. By now, most of us know someone or are ourselves affected by the current pandemic—either medically or economically, perhaps both. There is a parallel of rising anxieties between our own situation and the liturgical season, perhaps captured best by the psalmist in today’s readings: “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice!” (Ps 130:1–2)
Last week, during his striking Urbi et Orbi blessing, our Holy Father Pope Francis likened our present situation to the experience of the disciples in the storm. Where is Jesus? Is he asleep? Does he not hear our cries? But when Jesus awakens, he reveals that he has had the storm under control the entire time: “Why are you afraid?” This is as if to say, ‘you thought you were steering the ship and tending its sails, but it is I who control the winds and fill its sails.’ Whether we are bailing water on a sinking ship or stockpiling months’ worth of supplies that we do not need—either way, we should not deceive ourselves into thinking that we are in control.