The end of March brings so many memories from my high school years. Days of warmth are (in theory) right around the corner. For many of us, the end of last class now meant a race to the locker room, change into sweats or various loose/smelly attire, race up 86th Street though the entrance into Central Park, and find various baseball diamonds where either practices or scrimmages or games were held that day. Baseball was ON. The “time” had come and that Rites of Spring had begun.
Now the older “me,” looking at life “from both sides now…” thank you Judy Collins, sees this time as one for serious reflection, joy filled anticipation and prayerful contemplation. My head concentrates on the most important liturgies of the Christian Year as they now approach.
Holy Week and the lead-in to Easter is now close on the horizon. I not only have to “know” those liturgies to be a leader of prayer and worship for those who intend to keep these as “HOLY” days, but I have to know them so well that I am not thinking of the “structure” or “mechanics” of what is going on. I have to have them in my soul’s muscle memory so I can appreciate what we’re doing and praying about without being bogged down in notes and papers. (Kind of like being so familiar with the process of throwing a runner out at second base without having to think: “what do I do next.”)
The point is that the coming weeks bring a scriptural message which is so important. It should make us all pause and think about what it is we are celebrating: about what has been done for us (“on our behalf and for our salvation”) that has made us right with God. To take the Paschal Mystery seriously as a Christian should mean setting time aside for worship, or prayer, for thinking about what matters most in the important scheme of life.
And after the Feast of the Lord’s Resurrection has come, I will then surely sit back, close my eyes, and wonder if on some baseball diamond in Central Park, there is some sophomore wearing a dirty uniform with a #40 on his/her back, putting on a catcher’s mask and living in the joy of that moment. It’s not the same as joyfully experiencing what is truly important, but it’s not a bad anticipation.