On Thursday May 14th, we celebrated Ascension Thursday: the day our Lord ascended into heaven and not to return till his second coming. This holy day of obligation in the Church, marks 40 days after Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. There are only 9 days left in this beautiful Easter season and I am struck by the thought that my favorite time of the year is at a close, but I take pause and reflect in this blog that Easter does not have to ever come to an end. [Note: Easter officially is concluded at Pentecost which is 50 days after Christ’s Resurrection]
Pope St. John Paul II said once, “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” Easter people are indeed happy people. We rejoice in this great knowledge, that death has no victory and no sting (1 Cor. 15:56). Each one of us, as Catholics, has the incredible opportunity every Sunday at Mass, and each day if we so choose, to give praise, thanks and glory to God for the triumph of Jesus over death.
Every Sunday is a mini-Easter. This is the response that I give my kids when they ask me, “Why do we have to go to Mass?” As I ponder their question and poorly attempt to extrapolate for them the wonderful gift of the Holy Eucharist in their lives, I am struck by how my kid’s questions enable me to more deeply recognize the gift of Easter for myself. Usually the follow-up retort from my 6, 4 and 2 year old are, “But I don’t want to go to Mass.” To which I always reply, “Aw son, but that is a sacrifice that we must make. For it wouldn’t have the elements of love if it didn’t cost us something. You see Markie, when we go to Mass to tell Jesus how much we love Him and thank Him for all He has done for us, it is an even greater gift to Him when we do it when we don’t want to. This is why we call it a sacrifice. Do you think Jesus wanted to experience the pain of His crucifixion? No. But He did it. All because He loved you and me. Don’t you think that is worth thanking Him at least one day a week?” I wish I could tell you that my 6, 4, 2 and even 19 month old are saying, “Thank you Daddy for explaining this so well to me. I will never complain about attending Mass again.” No, my friends, their silence to my comments often tells me that they are thinking about it and trying to understand those deep and eternal realities in their little minds. But their silence and no further complaint is a great sign to me of their respect of the truth that I and my wife try to share.
So the Houck family, celebrates Easter all year! We love the liturgical calendar and all its benefits to bring us into a deeper relationship with Christ, but Easter is not something that has to end. It is truly our song. Bring that love that is so often manifested in this time to all who need it. The joy of Easter is a joy that the world so desperately needs. It is a joy that our marriages long for. It is a joy that our kids deserve each day. It is joy that our Church community thrives upon. Much healing and hope can be found in this joy so why contain it to only 50 days a year. Share it and be who you are, an Easter people!
God love you and heal you this day!