Until my kids attended Catholic school, I don't think I was aware that the Monday following Easter is a special day of it's own. I don't know where I was when they covered that lesson in cathechism, but it was truly news to me. So, in addition to the week for spring break -- the kids had off Holy Thursday, Good Friday AND NOW Easter Monday! What was this extra day besides another way to
Apparently, in some countries that are predominantly Catholic, Easter Monday is a day of celebration that includes egg rolling contests and even dousing other people with water which, at one time, was holy water blessed the day before at Easter Sunday Mass and carried home to bless the house and food. I don't know of anyone who has water fights the day after Easter, and I don't think that was what the school was suggesting we do with the kids, although I'm sure they would have been amenable to the idea.
Yesterday, because the church gets so crowded on Easter, there was a second mass held downstairs in the cafeteria. That's where my family ended up. It's always a bit of a disappointment to not be in the church that is all decked out for Easter with lilies galore surrounding the baptismal font, the full choir and our own parish priest. However we were among good friends and fellow parishioners that we've known forever, and sometimes I think that such simple surroundings humble us in a good way. Besides, the visiting priest who celebrated mass for us made it very special. He was warm and kind and had a jovial way about him. He talked about how quickly the celebration and joy of Easter day seems to wind down and we fall back into just ordinary time. Even though Easter is celebrated for seven weeks in the church, before we go back into "ordinary time", it seems that without the bunnies and baskets and pretty bonnets to remind us, we're quick to forget. He likened it to the day after the Super Bowl! The following Monday can't possibly rival the celebration of winning day.
The priest yesterday challenged us to keep up the level of joy that we would feel if we ourselves had entered the cave on Easter morning and found Christ had risen (and for this, he suggested, we should be grateful that we were at mass in the basement, as it made the exercise easier to imagine!) How quick we are as humans to fall back into our everyday ways, letting go of the celebration. He instructed us that we should be singing as we left, out into the parking lot and beyond. For the mass may have ended, but the celebration and joy have just begun.