It’s almost over. Easter season, that is. Which, to my brain at least, qualifies as a bit of surprise.
For a moment, I was drawn back into the Easter season when I heard the opening prayer (the Collect) at Mass this morning:
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we who have celebrated the paschal festivities
may, by your gift, hold fast to them in the way we live our lives.
I realized that I’d probably moved well past the ‘paschal festivities’ in my own mind and heart — long before this 49th day of the Easter season. At least, in part, that’s because I’ve been looking forward to what comes next: Pentecost. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit…the birthday of the church.
It did me good, though, to hear the liturgical reminder of the great feast we’re just now wrapping up. It was good to note — at least in my heart — that Easter IS a really big deal, worthy of 50 days of celebration. And more to the point: That Easter never ends. The promise of the Risen Lord is with us always.
The readings we heard at Mass this morning provided the perfect scriptural capstone for the season.
First, the final verses from the Acts of the Apostles:
[Paul] remained for two full years in his lodgings. He received all who came to him, and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Next, the closing lines from the Gospel of John:
There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world could contain the books that would be written.
In both cases, the scripture passages are endings in the literal sense. But notice how they are also open-ended. There’s more of the story to be written, it seems. More of the story to be lived — if not by Paul and John, then perhaps by those of us to whom they passed the torch.
Something fruitful to ponder, I’d say, as we all wait in joyful hope for the promised Paraclete.
Come, Holy Spirit, come!
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy One.