Have you ever had such a great day that you did not want it to end? While you were having that wonderful experience, did you have the impulse to want to share it with someone who was not with you at the time? How often are we told stories with the person concluding, “You should have been there!”
The Church is telling one of those stories this week – Holy Week. It began with Palm Sunday and continues through Easter Sunday. The exciting thing about this story is that we can be a part of it by participating in the rites of the Church, leading us through the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The original course of events happened about 2000 years ago, and we have the words of the Gospels to tell us what happened. If Jesus had been born into the 21st century, would the story have been told better if someone recorded these events with an iPhone, taking video and pictures and then immediately texting them to a family member or friend or, better yet, posting them to a Facebook page for the story to “go viral”? In a way, the pain and horror of the crucifixion are relived today in the recordings of images of innocent people dying from war and famine around the world, and killings and senseless crimes committed in our cities.
We are living in an age when we can create the reality around us by selecting what sounds and images we want to see. It is interesting that, when you use the Internet to shop or find news and information, the browser is “intelligent” enough to find similar websites with content that “one might also like.” In a way, the computerized iterations offer us more of the same, presuming we have preferences about almost everything. While that may be true, I believe that we need to be careful not to become complacent, but rather explore and learn about things that may be less familiar to or comfortable for us.
While communication vehicles are much different in the 21st century from the time of Jesus, I would conjecture that the human reactions to times of joy and sorrow are the same. And in those times, we want to share them with those whom we love. In a way, we are asking another person to experience what we are experiencing in that moment. When they are particularly joyful moments, we don’t want them to end.
This is the exceedingly joyful message of Easter demonstrated by Jesus, who tells us: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”(John 14:3) Imagine that Jesus is so excited to be “in [his] Father’s house [with] many rooms,” he wants to send us a text message or photograph or video to share his joy with us. In this case, the technology is replaced by the words of the Gospels and by the celebrations of the Church this week that help us to be present with Jesus – to eat with him at His Last Supper with his apostles, to pray with him in the garden at Gethsemane, to denounce the brutality of his arrest and torture, to mourn at the cross at Golgotha, to wait at the tomb of Jesus, and to celebrate His resurrection.
I pray that your days are filled with more joys than sorrows, and with each day, I hope that you have someone with whom you can share the experience. And through our faith, may we be excited to know that there will be a joyful time for each of us that will never end.