I have always found it interesting how well we Catholics do Lent as a season. We certainly have a sense of the expansiveness and gravity of Lent…that it is a serious journey, a ponderous pilgrimage. And well we should, of course. This penitential season is so core to the process of Paschal Mystery that we commemorate and that we live.
And yet, when it comes to Easter, it’s a one (day)-and-done mentality…certainly for our society, and yes, also for many/most in the Church. Why? Why are we so quick to move on? Why do we not do a better job of lifting up and maintaining a consciousness of joy that the Easter Season invites us to? Theologically, our approach doesn’t make sense, not if we truly believe that God’s victory over sin and death is definitive. Our faith assures us that the empty tomb is the last word in the salvation story. Simply put, Lent is but a means. Easter is the end.
The ancient adage of the Church, lex orandi, lex credendi, teaches us that the “law of praying is the law of believing”. The Church certainly prays with profound joy throughout the Easter Season. (I always loved the phrase “It is with greater joy than ever in this Easter Season…” in the old sacramentary.) Perhaps our law of praying…and believing…can draw us into a manner of Christian living, an intentional and conscious living in and through the victory, which is far greater than our sin, expressed in the Easter action of our God.
Let us take a page from our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and live out the joy of the Gospel. I’ve heard it said that since Jesus’ Resurrection the world lives permanently in the Easter Season. Indeed, perhaps we can endeavor to live in Easter joy 365. But as we strive toward this permanent state of being, maybe we can all help our colleagues and parishioners understand that Easter continues unabated to Pentecost. That it’s time to sing, time to party…time to rest in the unqualified victory that is ours in Christ.
Want to be an evangelizer? Try saying “Happy Easter” to someone this week or next. And when they say “You’re a little late, aren’t you?”, consider the door open to sharing some very Catholic, very good news!