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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Grandma, when is Easter?

Friday on my way to the locker room at the local Y what appeared to be two grand parents were talking with two children. I was not privy to the whole conversation, but clearly something good was going to happen on Easter because as I walked up the girl was asking, "When is Easter?" As I continued to walk the grandmother obviously had no idea. "March 31st," I said as I walked by. I do not want to read too much into the transaction. Perhaps they were people of great devotion and she merely blanked for a moment. Perhaps they were people who have no idea when Easter is, but celebrate chocolate eggs and ham dinners as a family. What did strike me, though, was a text message received an hour or so later from a distressed parishioner who told me that she was so overwhelmed by the number of people who do not know what Lent and Easter are. Like many of my folks here, she grew up in a different time. For them, it is not always easy to see the increased secularism as a blessing. Seeing mission fields amidst the "ruins" of Christendom has a bite to it.

Moments before I walked into the Y, I had seen a big truck full of a well known soft drink. Advertising our local pro-basketball team, it had several large words written on it: Live for Now. (Being a joker, my first thought was the marketing department had accepted that drinking their product was not good for you, so by choosing to drink it you were giving up on the future and living for now.) Live for Now is certainly the opposite of the Holy Week spirituality which we are called by Jesus to embrace. To live for now and give no thought to the future is not good advice. Then again, if you are looking for wisdom to live by it is probably not best to peruse soft drink trucks for the truth that will set you free!

Tonight we celebrated the Palm/Passion Sunday Vigil mass. Our weather is dark, chilly and not at all spring-like. The setting of nature reflected the reading from Luke's Passion account. The story of Jesus' last days, His suffering and death. It is a story which people who "live for now" need to hear, especially when they wake up to find that "now" has become "later" (and later hurtling toward "too late"). It is especially important for people who do not have any idea when Easter is, or what it means. So I remind folks, over and over again, that it is important for us to share the story. If we believe it, too, of course, the telling can be life giving. For now and forever...

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