I've often thought Easter is best described as a party preceded by a forty-day hangover.
For my own part, the lead up to the most important day of the year tends to make me walk small. I am by nature a silent grumbler. Aside from "teaching moment" explosions, I generally keep my mouth shut. The downside is I'm often doing a slow burn (the upside is I don't bother saying, "I told you so," which drives people nuts waiting for it). I come into church totally bummed out by the weight of my problems and flop in the pew. I look up at the Crucifix and Jesus looks back at me and says, "You think you got problems?" Looking at what He puts up with from us, yeah, mine are pretty small potatoes.
Things get really dark by Holy Saturday. And, then, just after nightfall, a light appears--a single candle that spreads throughout the world.
We used to go to the Saturday evening Mass up at a retreat house run by some Franciscans. Just outside the chapel, there would be a little brazier for a small fire from which to light the first candle. One year, we had an enthusiastic new young priest celebrating. The old priest, Father Manny, was up to his hip pockets getting several new families from the Philippines squared away so he let Father Buzz arrange everything for the Mass. When we showed up at the retreat house, things looked a bit different. Rather than the usual brazier, there was a tub about the right size for burning a Viking long ship. Piled in the tub was enough wood to build said ship if it were required for a Norse funeral. At the proper hour, several Filipina mothers and grandmothers got the fire going. Considering most of these ladies had up until a few months earlier been cooking over such fires, it had all the muss and drama of flipping a light switch. It fell to Father Buzz to provide the drama. As the flames leaped up, frightening fire watchers in towers in three surrounding states, Father became carried away with the blessing and leaned farther and farther over the fire. Just before he set himself alight and reenacted our very own auto-de-fey (yeah, I know we didn't actually burn people during the auto-de-fey itself, but work with me here), two of the grandmothers shoved the tub away from him while three of the mothers laid hands on the hem of his chasuble and yanked. Father Buzz never missed a beat as he and the flaming tub broke formation and parted company at a high rate of speed. Let's see the Pentecostals top that.
7 April 2010: Feast of St. Finnian (or Finan) of Kinitty. St. Francis Xavier departs Lisbon for East Indies 1541, Metric System adopted by France 1795, Japanese battleship Yamato sunk by U.S. carrier planes 1945, Internet born with publication of RFC1 1969.