Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; 1 Cor 5:6b-8; Jn 20:1-9
There’s an experience that the liturgy so often links to Easter that we almost take the connection for granted. Our Psalm antiphon declares, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad.” The second reading from 1 Corinthians reads, “Our Paschal Lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the feast …” The Gospel Acclamation echoes the theme, “Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed; let us then feast with joy in the Lord.” The experience so often connected to Easter, in case you haven’t guessed yet, is nothing other than festivity, rejoicing together. The connection, of course, isn’t accidental. Christians have always understood the Resurrection not just as a feast, but as the feast, as the source all genuine festivity in this world. In the 4th Century, St. Athanasius observed that those without a share in the Resurrection “forever … remain without a feast” (Paschal Letters, VI).
Why is this? I think the claim is easier to understand if we distinguish genuine “festivity” and simply “partying.” Why is the atmosphere surrounding great festivals—Christmas, Thanksgiving, a wedding—distinct from the atmosphere surrounding night clubs, frat parties, or even greeting-card holidays like “Secretary’s Day”? One of the great Catholic philosophers of the 20th Century ventured this answer: to keep a genuine festival is
to live out, for some special occasion and in an uncommon manner, the universal assent to the world as a whole (Pieper, In Tune with the World 30). Read the rest of this entry »