I’ve seen it before…so it’s more intriguing than it is surprising: how the ‘headcount’ drops at daily Mass on Easter Monday.
Throughout the 40 days of Lent, we see the population swell – some weekdays, well over 100 people are in the pews at St. Joe’s…and what a blessing it is to be surrounded by all that community during our time of preparation!
Then, the day after the big feast (on what, technically, is STILL part of the Easter Solemnity), it’s pretty much back to business as usual. The regular crowd shuffles in, plus or minus a few, to sing our ‘Easter Alleluias’ and continue the joyful celebration.
Surely, our risen Lord must be a bit bemused by it all. He has moved on to an entirely new state of being…and invites us along for the ride. Yet, somehow, we can’t quite make ourselves believe the enormity of the gift. If there’s no work to be done on our part…no penance to be paid…no sorrow to be expressed…then we’re just not that interested. It all seems too good to be true.
Of course, this is not just an issue for modern believers. I thought about that when reflecting on today’s reading from Acts (3: 11-26). When Peter cures a crippled man in the name of the risen Lord, it touches off a mini-celebration. The man starts dancing and praising God – right there in the Temple! And though ‘all the people saw him,’ it seems none of them were moved to join in the dance – to participate fully in the joy of the moment.
Some folks are just better than others at internalizing that element of the Easter story, I guess — as my daughter Ellen discovered during her trip to Haiti last month. The children’s spontaneous song and dance turned into a cherished part of her experience at Child Jesus School in Petit Goave. ‘Could you be here, Jesus, in the flow of Haiti time? Could you be in the singing and dancing, in the mountains, and the sun, and the beach?’ she wrote in her blog.
Indeed: How might our experience of the Easter season be transformed…if we open our hearts to the Master’s call? Jesus is inviting us to dance! (Perhaps not literally…because ‘Sweet Fancy Moses!’ things really could get ugly in a hurry.)
Still, the Lord truly DOES take delight in this Easter people…so let us praise God’s name in festive dance!