“Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12).
Time was when the majority of Barbadians took seriously the commemoration of Lent; when not a boy would be seen entering the rum shop or engaging in games of chance in the six-week period leading up to Easter.
In fact, Lent was the one time that Bajans took seriously to fasting; some even dared not to be seen consuming a chicken leg for fear that some disaster would come their way for openly engaging in the joys of the flesh.
Even Chefette bought into the norm of offering flying fish instead of double decker burgers, as they are offering now, in keeping with the traditional abstention from the consumption of meat, most notably among Lutherans, Roman Catholics and Anglicans.
During the season of Lent, many also willingly gave up certain luxuries in order to replicate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s journey into the desert for 40 days.
It was also the time each year, as Jay Parini wrote, when “a plenitude of books, magazine articles, and television shows about Jesus appear” and many Christians read daily devotionals or prayed through a Lenten calendar, as a means of drawing themselves closer to God.
On Good Friday, the Stations of the Cross, a devotional commemoration of Christ’s carrying the cross and of his execution, was often observed by both Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, which removed flowers from their altars, while crucifixes, religious statues, and other elaborate religious symbols were often veiled in violet fabrics in solemn observance of Lent.
But alas, times have changed!
So instead of a solemn and peaceful Holy Monday in which the chants of religious leaders were loudly heard above all else, it was more like Monday mayhem yesterday as Barbadians awoke to news of the dastardly killing of a police officer – not in the line of duty – but on account of a domestic affair that sounded more like it was lifted from the pages of a badly written Mills and Boon romance novel than anything that could have occurred in our island ‘paradise’.
Thankfully, police have already apprehended the suspect in connection with the killing of the 31-year-old constable.
But when one considers the shameless conduct, and immoral and unethical behviour of the various parties involved, as evidenced in a video recording of the terrible incident, it leaves us to wonder if there is really any love left to speak of.
And today just when we thought we had heard and seen enough and our senses could not be shocked any further – more senseless bloodshed.
First came news of a fatal stabbing in the River Van Stand; then of a body found at Long Beach; and then the police shooting of the suspect in Monday’s cop killing.
It makes us cringe at the thought of Holy Wednesday.
Pope Francis, in his Lenten message for 2018, spoke of fasting as a means of weakening our tendency to violence.
“It disarms us and becomes an important opportunity for growth,” the Pontiff advises.
“On the one hand, it allows us to experience what the destitute and the starving have to endure. On the other hand, it expresses our own spiritual hunger and thirst for life in God. Fasting wakes us up. It makes us more attentive to God and our neighbour. It revives our desire to obey God, who alone is capable of satisfying our hunger,” he said.
Perhaps, we need to get back to this Lenten practice, for as the old folks used to say, it would seem as though ‘the devil is truly out’ this year.
As Good Friday approaches our hope is that all will be able to resist the temptation to cause untold harm so that we can all look forward to a peaceful and enjoyable Easter.