Culture of Life
How We Feast and Why We Sing
User’s Guide to Sunday
BY Tom and April Hoopes
March 28-April 10, 2010 Issue | Posted 3/22/10 at 11:00 AM
Sunday, April 4, is Easter Sunday (Liturgical Year C, Cycle II), which begins the octave of Easter.
April 3, Holy Saturday, 9pm, at St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate “Easter Vigil in the Holy Night.”
April 4, Easter Sunday, 10:15am, St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate the “Holy Mass of the Day.”
April 4, noon, Central Loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Benedict will give his message and blessing urbi et orbi (to the city of Rome and the world).
We’re going to have to reboot our Easter traditions this year.
We did them for a decade in our old home in Connecticut. Now we’ll try them here in Kansas.
1. Easter Vigil. We loved the Easter Vigil at our old parish. But we’re eager to see the good things we have heard about Easter here with the monks at Benedictine College.
2. Egg hunt. Our new house in Kansas actually has possibilities for our yearly Easter egg hunt that our Connecticut home lacked. We can put small kids in the back yard, big kids in the front yard. And yes, to our friends in Connecticut, there will be “golden eggs” with special prizes.
3. Dinner with friends. We still aren’t close enough to family to connect with them at Easter, so we’ll have to go looking for other “Easter orphans” again this year.
Some things never change, though.
1. Lamb is our dinner every Easter. Tom loves it, and it’s a nice break from 18 years of ham that we both experienced growing up. Maybe our children will embrace ham for the same reason.
2. On Good Friday, we will take down religious pictures from our walls. We don’t have that many, but we have enough that the emptiness — and their restoration on Easter — makes an impression.
3. Explain egg dyeing. For our centerpiece at Easter dinner, we dye eggs and remind the children that the egg is a perfect symbol of the Resurrection — out of the “tomb” of the shell new life emerges.
Readings for Mass
Acts 10:34, 37-43; Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; John 20:1-9
Last year in his Easter Vigil homily, Pope Benedict XVI gave a wonderful meditation on the Alleluia and Easter. After describing light and water as images of Easter, he said:
The third great symbol of the Easter Vigil is something rather different; it has to do with man himself. It is the singing of the new song — the Alleluia. When a person experiences great joy, he cannot keep it to himself. He has to express it, to pass it on.
But what happens when a person is touched by the light of the Resurrection, and thus comes into contact with Life itself, with Truth and Love? He cannot merely speak about it. Speech is no longer adequate. He has to sing. The first reference to singing in the Bible comes after the crossing of the Red Sea. Israel has risen out of slavery. She has climbed up from the threatening depths of the sea. She is, as it were, reborn. She lives, and she is free.
The Bible describes the people’s reaction to this great event of salvation with the verse “The people … believed in the Lord and in Moses his servant” (Exodus 14:31). Then comes the second reaction which, with a kind of inner necessity, follows from the first one: “Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord …”
At the Easter Vigil, year after year, we Christians intone this song after the third reading; we sing it as our song, because we too, through God’s power, have been drawn forth from the water and liberated for true life. …
Once Christ is risen, the gravitational pull of love is stronger than that of hatred; the force of gravity of life is stronger than that of death.
Perhaps this is actually the situation of the Church in every age. It always seems as if she ought to be sinking, and yet she is always already saved. St. Paul illustrated this situation with the words “We are as dying, and behold we live” (2 Corinthians 6:9). The Lord’s saving hand holds us up, and thus we can already sing the song of the saved, the new song of the risen ones: Alleluia! Amen.
Tom and April Hoopes write from Atchison, Kansas.
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