In Martin Scorsese’s recent and great film “Silence,” based on a novel of the same title, the main character is a missionary from Europe. In the film, he suffers tremendously because he saw how the small, poor and helpless Japanese Christians suffer harassment, threats and death because of their faith. This creates a tension in his heart because he knows that God cares, that God saves, that he hears his people. Why was it then, that when he prayed for them and for himself, God did not reply? Was he praying only to “silence?”

This Holy Week this must be the same question in our hearts. Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Compared to his prayers while in active ministry, his prayer was gloomy and dark. He was asking his Father to let the cup pass him by, to deliver him from suffering. There was no answer.

Again on the cross, when he was crucified, Jesus’ mind was fixed only on one person, his Father. Would he rescue him? Would he come to help him now? “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Like in Gethsemane, there was only silence.

What was running in the mind of Jesus when his prayers met no response? He asked for deliverance and yet he was delivered to his enemies. He asked for comfort but he was nailed to the cross. He waited for a companion but he suffered and died alone, abandoned by his friends, abandoned by his Father.

This must be the question in our hearts too. How many times have we experienced being left on our own when we needed support? How many times have we cried ourselves to sleep and nobody heard us? How long have we knelt before our altars and received only a cold treatment, a silence, as response?

We must however, watch Jesus closely, to get an answer into this mysterious silence of the Father. At Gethsemane, Jesus prayed to be spared from the cross. There was no answer and yet, in the end, Jesus stood up from his prayer and boldly faced his enemies and his death. On the cross, Jesus was left alone, but did he not cling even more tightly to the one he called “my”God, “my” Father? Jesus suffered and died, and even more felt alone but in his heart he knew he must continue to trust. There is mystery in the silence of God but there is also a mystery in the trust of Jesus in his Father’s love.

This Holy Week, let us derive our strength from the example of Our Lord. We may feel the whole world is against us; that even God has betrayed us. In the midst of it all, let us invite all the trust in our hearts to emerge so that like Jesus, we can continue to believe and continue to hope. After the Cross comes the Resurrection!