Sunday, April 15, 2012

It's Still Easter

  There are only six weeks of lent, and it is great that most practicing Catholics make some kind of effort to observe these. Too bad so few go out of their way to observe the seven weeks of rejoicing after the six weeks of penance.  This is the time of year to let the kids stay up a tad later some nights,  to take them out to dairy queen, visit the zoo, or whatever strikes the family as fun and out of the ordinary, saying, "since it's Easter time, let's do X."

In the same vein, it's a great season for husbands and wives to go out on a few dates, buy and share a bottle of really fine wine, or go by themselves to a gorgeous state park or other Beautiful place and enjoy the scenery and have a picnic lunch.  It's Easter after all. He is risen. So act that way.

Keeping  up with the Divine Office will help preserve your Easter mood. Every day there are readings and antiphons reminding you that there is reason to rejoice. For example,Monday's Office of Readings has a nice second reading comparing Easter to Passover, by Pseudo-Chrysostom. First pause to wonder about this name. You get the initial impression of some impostor posing as St. John C., passing off his sermons as those of the golden-tongued orator of Constantinople. Would be very interesting if such a rascal had made it into the Church's liturgical books. Unfortunately, the truth is more prosaic. Pseudo-Chrysostom is really Anonymous, whose work has been mistakenly attributed to the real Chrysostom before the scholars figured things out. I wonder what Pseudo-Chrysostom and real-Chrysostom remark  to one another in heaven  about this little mix up.

So here's what Pseudo-C. says  about Old Testament types and figures of salvation: the presence of the reality makes the symbol obsolete: when the king appears in person no one pays any attention to his statue.  As a Catholic with a collection of graven images, I really enjoy this analogy. We certainly aren't staring at the Sacred Heart statue or the crucifix in church during the consecration, right?

And although this analogy seems at first glance pretty dismissive of our Jewish brothers and sisters, there's another way to look at it. If an entire people doesn't realize that the King has appeared in person, but continued through the centuries to honor the symbols of him, the rest of us who know better  would (should) respect and honor those people for their attachment to the symbols, even while feeling sorry that they missed the main event.  Correct?

The real King has come, defeated the enemy, and invited us to His banquet. Rejoice.