Perfectly folded, held, dropped

This morning, as I walked to the chaplaincy for Mass, I came across this palm cross, lying on a deserted stretch of pavement. A minute or so later I saw a few people walking home from Mass, crosses in their hands or tucked into breast pockets - like this one, all perfectly aligned and folded. Someone had clearly spent time putting this cross together with care and devotion. Someone else had held it, maybe for an hour or more; might even have carefully tucked it into a bag or pocket, or entrusted it to a child... but then, in one heedless, careless moment, it had fallen, unnoticed and forgotten, onto the pavement.

Today we commemorated Palm Sunday against a backdrop of violence and senseless murder: atrocities in Syria, Sweden and now Egypt the latest in an increasingly heart-rending roll call. Meanwhile, here in England a young asylum seeker is viciously attacked, in one of a growing number of race hate crimes. So many lives created and sustained in love; so many bodies nourished with care and devotion, only to be treated as expendable, something easily discarded... This little cross, perfectly folded, blessed, held, then dropped on a pavement, is now a focus for my prayer, somehow speaking to me of all those innocents, those discarded people, of the many who grieve and care for them, and of the anguish and pain seeping through our world.

And to paraphrase a tweet I saw this morning from Cardinal Vincent Nichols: this Holy Week, may Jesus absorb the violence of this world and transform it in love, as only he can...