Last Easter, churches were closed just like everyone else. But the supermarkets were open. They are not as different from churches as they appear.
On Good Friday 2020, my wife Jenny and I were loading supplies. We have three young people, and as usual, our trolley was swollen with food, not to mention the cleaning supplies. It takes so long to scan everything, we often have time to talk to the person in the registry.
My experience with workers working in supermarkets has some highlights. I shudder to recall an occasion when I was drowned by a kidney stone in one. The young staff were excited. For a minute they seemed to be fired. The next minute reality knocked on their door in the form of a bad man who found himself on the floor of a frozen food aisle. They cared about my well-being and dignity. I will say that it has restored my faith in humanity except that I have never lost that hope. Young people can sometimes seem paradoxical. But they are not. Not really.
The man who scans our consumables on Good Friday has not been a teenager for some years. He asked if locking makes us hungry or if it is a regular harvest. We had everything except toilet paper, which was still in short supply because the hoarders had stored it, for fear that they would run out of something they did not need anyway. Most people in the world do not use toilet paper. Many do not even have toilets.
We asked him the same question. The man turned out to be a dentist. Initially locked, his business was closed due to inability to see patients. She had two young children and was interested in making some money. He went to the supermarket and asked for work. He didn’t care if he was packing shelves or something else. The salary will be less than he is accustomed to, let alone the status of the post. The condition, he noted, was the chimney.
We were shocked by his delight. Like many others, man has suddenly overturned his world. Yet now he was doing his best to help his family and clients, scanning the toothpaste all along. He congratulated us for choosing the cheapest toothbrushes and, as a dentist, found that people buy expensive products that make no difference. In the end, we laughed, especially when he was forced to scan our chocolate Easter eggs.
This is an Easter moment for us. They occur daily. An injured person finds new life. The dead are not as dead as we think. We all rise.
Michael McGirro is a former Jesuit priest and former teacher Australian Catholics.