By Father Russ Mower
Special to The Texas Catholic
This has been the strangest Easter season ever. Well probably not ever, since that first Easter was really something. After Jesus, the Messiah, The King of the Jews, the Son of God, was crucified, his followers were crestfallen. They retreated to their homes. Some went into hiding. They consoled each other. Even after news of the Resurrection had spread, some were still nervous, unsure, in denial. They gathered in small groups, like in the Upper Room, or even just practiced their faith individually.
There is a reason that the Church includes readings from The Acts of the Apostles in the Lectionary after Easter. It teaches us how we are to respond after our time in the desert, after our fast, after the Passion, and especially after the Resurrection. After Luke’s description of the first Pentecost (which we celebrate on May 31 this year) we hear how the faithful became communities of thousands.
“They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.” (Acts 2:42)
Before our exile, we were communities of hundreds and thousands. Like the first Christians, we met in the temples on the first day for the breaking of the bread and for the prayers. But in the last few months, we have adapted, learning how to cling to our faith either on our own or virtually. We have watched Mass and devotions on our phones, on laptops, and on television. I am thankful for this media for helping to keep us somewhat connected. It reminds us of what we once had and gives us hope for what we can have again.
I can hardly wait for the time when we can share Christ together in receiving the Sacrament of His Body and Blood. I can hardly wait to hear someone say, “And with your spirit” when I say, “The Lord be with you.” And the Sign of Peace…and the choir…and greeting fellow Christians at the door…and even the donuts and coffee.
In the words of Joni Mitchell, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.” Even though we have tried, we have learned that there is no truly acceptable substitute to receiving Christ in the Eucharist, to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and to praying together as a community. I know that I speak for all my brother priests when I say, “I can’t wait to see you all again.”
Father Russ Mower is the pastor of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.