“Every Sunday is a little Easter carried throughout the year. An opportunity to celebrate, and to remember the resurrection … Just as on Easter Sunday we linger over empty plates in good company, so too can we linger at the table every Sunday.” Mary Conway shares another gem here, encouraging us to be Church, apostles of joy.
Have you ever wished you had more than 24 hours in a day? I know I have, and I don’t think I’m alone in this wishful thinking. When my calendar is full, and my motivation running on empty, it’s easy to dream about what I could do with just a few more hours. Maybe work on a personal project, spend more time with friends or family, catch up on the laundry, or even just take a well deserved nap.
In our busy daily lives how often do we find ourselves longing for just a little more time? No matter where we are in our lives, or what it is we’d like to fit in, I think we all feel something of this longing for eternity. And what I love about our church calendar is that a little taste of eternity is built right in.
With the recent celebration of Pentecost, we brought our Easter season to a close. It strikes me that while often we’re acutely aware of those 40 penitential days of Lent, we find it far too easy to forget that they are followed by 50 days of Easter. This is one of my favorite things to remind people around my office in the midst of Lenten fasting: “Ask me again in Easter, I’ll have a lot of celebrating to do!”
“We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song!” These words attributed to St. Augustine, and echoed into our own time by St. John Paul the Great, tell us something important about who we are as a church. Eternity, and the resurrection, have the final say. But do we feast with the same vigor with which we carry out our Lenten fasting? Or do we forget, and slip back into the mundane pattern of our daily lives?
Even now in Ordinary Time, our celebration is not over. Every Sunday is a little Easter carried throughout the year. An opportunity to celebrate, and to remember the resurrection. And as Catholics we steal a little piece of eternity on this day.
How? Just as the Jewish people begin their Sabbath celebration at sundown on Friday evening, so we too begin our celebration of the Lord’s Day on Saturday evening. But rather than ending at sundown on Sunday as they do, we continue the celebration until MIDNIGHT. In most dioceses Sunday officially begins at 4pm Saturday. Counting the rest of the way through midnight on Sunday, that’s a total of 32 hours! That’s right, for us Sunday actually is more than 24 hours!
So what are we to do with this great gift? Just as on Easter Sunday we linger over empty plates in good company, so too can we linger at the table every Sunday. Wherever we are in life we can find some small way to remember the joy of the resurrection and the communion that we share. Whether it be as simple as a family meal, coffee with a friend, or calling someone to catch up. Single or married, old, young, or somewhere in the middle, let us never underestimate the profound gift of our presence to one another.
On Sundays we have the opportunity to break time and steal a little piece of eternity. With whom will you share this gift? This Sunday, don’t just go to church, be church. Invite others over and be apostles of His joy. We are an Easter people, sisters, please don’t stop singing.
Copyright 2019 Mary Conway