As the Triduum approaches, I was talking to my children about the schedule of Mass times and devotions we’ll be participating in as a family. My children are 15, 13, and almost 9 years old so you can only imagine the ecstatic response I got at the thought of spending the first 4 days of their Easter break going to church. After the usual amount of grumbling my son said, “But mom, we ALL know how the Easter story ends so WHY do we have to go to church ALL THREE DAYS?” It was at this precise moment I had an instant flashback to earlier days of changing diapers, wiping sticky peanut butter and jelly fingers, counting Cheerios as I spread them out on the high chair tray, and spending many sleep deprived days pretending to be Wendy for this little Peter Pan boy. “Really?” I replied. “Do you know how many times I read Goodnight Moon to you? And after the 4,897 time I still read it to you AGAIN even though we ALL knew how the story ended!
My children have grown so much since those days and my now 6’1” teenager looked at me and smiled. “I remember mom, but that’s totally different.” Yes, and everything is different now. We live in a different house in a different town in a different state. They attend a different school, have different friends, and we belong to a different church. Our lives have changed, the world around us has changed, and nothing is the same as it was last year, last month, or yesterday. Nothing except for the Easter story; which is exactly why we tell it, and participate in it, again and again. Easter hasn’t changed because Christ remains the same. He is ever-faithful and nothing can ever separate us from his love – no earthly problems or worries, no sin, no sickness, no shame. Not even death.
This story reminds us that God’s love and sovereign reign are constant and fixed like constellations anchored in the dark night sky. And each year we stop the mad pace of life as we all know it, enter into that story, awaken our hearts to His suffering, and turn our gaze up toward the cross in beautiful somber adoration; to console Him one more time and weep with our mother Mary at the moment of His final breath.
Yes, we will go to church again this Easter, all three days even though we know how the story ends. And we’ll sit beside one another feeling the sadness, thinking deeply, praying quietly, and thanking Him with our whole hearts for choosing to be the victim of God’s justice for our redemption over and over again.