Friday, April 13, 2007

Easter Mess

Driving around today I dug out of the cobwebs a memorable Fr. John homily about Easter. Think about it. If you were St. Peter or St. Matthew, what would "the" Easter Sunday, and Easter Week, have felt like to you? You just traveled 80-some miles away from home, endured the most terrifying experiences of your Master being arrested, beaten, and publicly executed, you've hardly slept for fear of your own life as well, all happening over the major holiday of the year. Then suddenly, Jesus appears to you, alive. These men had to be basket cases. As Fr. John put it, they had a lot for Jesus to deal with.

It doesn't surprise me, then, that in the Resurrection appearances, Jesus does things like making breakfast, advising them about fishing, bequeathing peace to them. He doesn't immediately tell them to go out and preach. He spends time with them, teaching them (they probably finally had hearts truly open to what He taught). And most importantly for them, I think, they have time together, just the Apostles. In the flesh, at least. Then Jesus ascends, still telling them to hang tight together, and with Mary, until the promised Holy Spirit would come. Fifty days later. They needed fifty days to come down off the ceiling, to humanly be able to receive another huge spiritual jolt that really would upend their lives for the rest of their lives.

My Easter Week has been a bit of a mess. Nothing traumatic, just some little getting off schedule, some too much food my body isn't used to (note to self: next holiday, do not stray far from normal Type O diet), some cold symptoms, some need for emotional rejuvenation. The thought occurs to me that after marching along for 40-odd days of Lent, shouldn't Easter feel like crossing a glorious finish line, like a "yeah, everything is much better now" celebration?

Wait, that's heaven. And I'm not quite there, yet!

Maybe a Lent well-experienced says that I'm just one player in this spiritual drama. I contribute my piece, along with everyone else. I am neither single-handedly responsible for the salvation of the world, nor am I to opt out of doing my part. I am to see more clearly my own call to holiness, and live it with love.

I think this is why I don't like specific food fasts for all of Lent. Too much of a tendency to just say "well, THAT's over with now. Let's eat!"

Yesterday, not having much energy for aught else, I did some blog surfing. I read of people with terminal illnesses, parents who have suffered incredible trials with sick babies and kids, people grieving very sad deaths. I experienced a "holy set up" to pray for an online friend in a way that was huge blessing to her. And I realized that my little sense of blog loneliness was just another little means of Jesus calling me closer to His heart, to check out what He might have in mind for my day.

I gave my kiddos some extra hugs and kisses, thanking God that I had them with me in health. I realized that God always has His purposes, and that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

So, I think I'm ok with feeling a bit of a mess after Easter. I think there's some liturgical correctness about it. In a way, when Jesus said "It is finished", it was really only beginning for the rest of us.

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