Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Passion/ The Ongoing Crisis in Japan

This Sunday is Palm Sunday and the Passion of Our Lord Jesus from St. Matthew's gospel will be proclaimed throughout the world, at Mass. Honestly, it's difficult for me to listen to. I can never bring myself to join in and cry out with the crowd, "Crucify him, Crucify him." I just listen. It's hard enough for me to listen to the Passion of Christ.....I can't verbally bring myself to say those words.
Millions of people in Japan are living through their own "passion" experience and a stripping away of all the security they've ever known. How you can go through the horrific events they've been through without faith and without God, is a total mystery to me.
Strong aftershocks continue. The nuclear crisis is not over and day after day there are confusing news reports about alarming radiation levels and further contamination. According to articles I've read, many Japanese people are turning to spirituality and prayer to help them find comfort in dealing with the multiple disasters they have to deal with. Prayer always changes things, in one way or another, for the better. Apparently, more and more Japanese people are stopping in to pray at shrines and even Catholic churches. However, I was surprised to read that 86% of Japanese people don't "believe in anything." How will they ever get through this without faith and hope?
Japanese officials claim that the scary nuclear crisis at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is improving while just a few days ago they raised the alert level from 5 to 7, putting the disaster on the same level as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. A level 7 could mean "widespread health and environmental effects" in parts of Japan. Auxiliary Bishop Michael Goro Matsuura, of Osaka, is trying to raise awareness to fight the building of new nuclear plants in Japan and around the world. He was quoted as saying, "We call on the solidarity of all Christians to support this campaign."
Personally, I don't think the international community is doing enough. Is the International Atomic Energy Agency doing enough to monitor the situation? These are the questions I have and I imagine the Japanese people are thinking the same things, while living with anxiety.
The Passion, the suffering of Christ, the poor people of Japan living through their own "crucifixion" and too many of them not able (or don't understand how) to unite their sufferings to the sufferings of Christ and get some comfort from that. It's a lot to digest. I better go out into the sunshine today and go for a walk and get ready for the reading of the Passion on Sunday. I like to pray and walk, it's a good way for me to multi-task and clear my mind.