Monday, April 17
What is the day after Easter?
And the day after that? Easter, too, and the day after that, and that, not just through the Octave of Easter but through Ascension and Pentecost and Ordinary Time and all the year, because Christ is Risen, and everything is changed, everything is charged.
As the Deacon sings in the Exultet: may this flame [of the Easter Candle] be found still burning by the Morning Star; the one Morning Star who never sets, Christ your Son, who, coming back from death’ domain, has shed his peaceful light on humanity, and lives and reigns for ever and ever.
I heard this sung at Easter Vigil this year at St. Joseph’s in Colbert, Washington, north of Spokane, where my youngest brother Ted was baptized and confirmed and received first communion. I never dreamed this would happen. My brother is a fine, fine man, a man with integrity and compassion and strong intention, and it’s been such a grace to see the Spirit move in him and to see him slowly changing.
We were talking over coffee earlier Saturday, and he was describing a problem that’s developed among a few of his close friends, and how a few years ago he would have just said, to heck with it, I’m not going to have anything to do with these people. But because of RCIA, and this new commitment, and this change going on in him, he stopped, and stepped back, and asked himself, simply, and honestly, what would Jesus do in this situation? And he realized the answer: the kind thing, and the hard thing, and that this is what he should do, too, try to help, not expecting to succeed necessarily or to get his way, but not taking sides and not letting things go either. And I know he means this, and I know this is Christ, this is the Spirit, working in him.
St. Joseph’s is a country church, small and intimate, and I was struck again as I was even in Rome by how homely and humble and human the Church always is. These high, solemn rites are performed by ordinary human beings just like you and me. But they are high and solemn, and Christ is present in them, Christ came into the ordinary world and rose from it and sent his Spirit into it, and though my brother will be tempted as we all are, and there will be ups and downs, and the elation he feels now will fade, and come back, fade and come back, it was such a grace to see and to feel that elation. Because this is all real, and this is true, and this is imperishable.
This is Jesus Christ, the Morning Star that never sets–the Risen Son of God, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.