April 15: Easter Sunday: The Resurrection of the Lord
Alleluia! Today and throughout the Easter season to come, that’s our song. In Gregorian chant, gospel style, and glorious polyphony, alleluia washes through our churches, chasing away the struggles of Lent, the pain of the Passion, the silence of Holy Saturday. Flame replaces darkness, and flowers replace bare sanctuaries.
The hard season is done, the season of celebration has begun. I can’t help hearing a friend’s annual Easter refrain ringing in my ears: “Alleluia, Lent is over!” She sings it privately, of course.
It isn’t true. Amid the Easter alleluias, Lent goes underground, but its work goes on for both those who came to it already baptized and those newly emerged from the baptismal waters. Lent goes on because we have a long journey of conversion yet to make as Sundays again tempt us out to the shopping mall instead of to church, or annoying neighbors still annoy, or bad habits temporarily squelched reemerge when we’re not looking. Christ now enthroned in glory urges us forward, but he does not allow us to skip over real life to get to the happy ending we look forward to. Life is still our workshop, discernment and discipline our tools, love our practice and our goal.
But alleluia lightens the way. There is reason for joy right here, right now, it seems to say. Catch glimpses of it over there in that child’s laughter, or here in the glory of that sunrise, or this evening when a loved one calls, or anytime light wins against the shadow, as it has and always will (John 1:5). How can that be when the evening news or the morning paper or the gossip at the grocery store so often bears tales of darkness seeming to envelop the world? Christ—crucified, buried, and risen—answers, “I am with you always!” (Matt 28:20).
Even here, in the midst of tribulations and temptations, let us sing alleluia, says St. Augustine. Sing not to escape the work of conversion but to lighten the load. But sing as travelers do, he says, because we have a ways yet to go. Sing alleluia, but keep going!
What gifts and challenges will you carry forward from here?
Christ our life, be our alleluia and our goal as we travel forward. Grant us the joy of your risen presence and the strength of your love to sustain us on the journey.
From Not By Bread Alone 2017: Daily Reflections for Lent 2017, by Genevieve Glen (Liturgical Press). Visit www.litpress.org for more information.