Jesus Christ is Risen today, Alleluia! Sorry, couldn’t help myself. Easter is awesome, and easily my favorite time of year for my faith. Spring has usually sprung, flowers are starting to bloom, and I feel new too. After a long, and this year it felt extra long, Lent, we cap off our 40 days of sacrifice with the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil on Saturday – best liturgies of the year) and then Easter Mass. Can’t get any better than that.
Here is the great thing about being Catholic – 50 is greater than 40. Lent lasts 40 days. It feels like forever because we can’t drink diet coke or put sugar in our coffee or eat meat or whatever we offered up. But then we get to Easter, and instead of just one day to party; we get 50 full days to party. Easter lasts from Easter Sunday through Pentecost a full 50 days away. So as you read this, it is Easter! (Unless you are reading this in like August, then you missed it.)
Everyone has little traditions they do in their house to celebrate Easter. At my house, we are pretty traditional. We dye eggs. We roast a ham (like forever till it smells and tastes like bacon). We eat a lot of unnecessary candy. We pass out from a sugar comma. Good times.
The thing is, in the mist of all these little traditions, I think it can be easy to forget the reason we have them. It’s like going to a party at someone’s house, but not knowing really what the party is for – awkward. We do the egg thing, but we never talk about how the eggs represent new life and resurrection. We eat the ham, without thinking about how in the past, people didn’t eat any meat all of Lent so that first taste of succulent ham was a delight like no other reminding the eater of the banquet of heaven. The little traditions have point to the bigger party that we are really celebrating. A party that is raging in heaven that we can’t even begin to imagine. Our Easter celebration is just a shadow and a foretaste of the big party being celebrated now and that someday we too will celebrate.
In our house, that party starts at Easter Mass. We really go to that Mass to celebrate and be reminded of the reason for the eggs and the ham. We gather around the table of heaven that is the altar and consume the greatest feast, Jesus’ body and blood. Sometimes its tough with getting everyone dressed and out the door and the crowds at Mass and the kids are fidgety, but in the end, this is the best way we celebrate all day, nothing beats it.
In fact, Mass is how we remember that 50 is greater than 40. Yes, of course, we go to Mass during Lent, but during Easter when we go to Mass, we remember that death has been defeated; the victory has been won. Jesus rose from the dead, and when we close our eyes for the final time, we will get to open them again. This is the good news we celebrate each Easter and every Sunday at Mass.
So I give you permission to party like a rock star from whenever you read this until Pentecost. In fact, the Church implores you to party and celebrate the 50 days of Easter. In order to remember what it is we are celebrating, we need to make sure each weekend includes coming to Mass. If you don’t always make it to Mass, no worries. Try and commit to at least to attend each Sunday of Easter from now until May 27th. Mass will help both you and I remember what it is we are celebrating – our salvation.