Saturday, April 17, 2010

Let us rejoice and be glad . . . please

The mood at my home church this Easter was anything but joyful. We tried to celebrate, we really did, but it was a success just to hold back the tears. Five days earlier, two much-loved high school seniors had been killed in a car accident on their way to baseball practice, and the entire community was still reeling on Easter morning. I hadn't known them, though my sister had been friendly with one, and my dad had grown up with the other's father.

And so, though I hadn't known them, I'd spent almost a week reading graphic and heart-breaking local news stories, being moved to tears by posts on memorial Facebook groups, hearing my dad describe repeat the eulogies from the Holy Saturday funeral, and welling up at the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday when Christ's body was removed from the Cross and given to his mother. I can't even begin to imagine what those mothers were going through.

I had thought of trying to talk to one of the priests on Saturday or Sunday about scheduling and making appointments, but the last thing I wanted to do was add one more thing to do to the list of someone who had already had to call the archbishop for a dispensation to have a funeral and distribute Communion on Holy Saturday, who would have to preside at the funerals of two teenagers in five days.

I didn't notice the families of either boy in church on Easter, but Mass was preceded by an announcement about how the community had pulled together in the wake of such tragedy, and we prayed for them during the Prayers of the Faithful. At least a couple of kids there had been their teammates, and while I didn't notice any of those teenaged boys crying, I noticed lots of those teenaged boys' mothers crying.

I couldn't help but think, when we said "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it," that it was not so much a proclamation as a plea. Glad wasn't something we could handle on our own. We needed help.

Let us be glad, Lord. Please. Let us be glad.

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