I have seen the islands of snow geese on the lake and the skies turning white as they take off in flight from the farm fields as they resume their journey north. Robins can once again be heard chirping in the yard, and flowers are once again popping through the soil as they begin their growth that will lead to their bloom. Yes Spring is upon us in many signs if not fully experienced.
The change of season from winter to spring is also seen clearly in the world of sports. As the shift takes place from the basketball season to the baseball season (with a little overlap). This week marks the end of the NCAA basketball tournament and the college season with the final four teams meeting to end the March Madness (in April no less). The long winter drought for the baseball fans has come to an end with the new season underway. While I like most sports I must admit for me they only fill the gap between the World Series and Opening Day. I love baseball! Lord Tennyson once wrote, “In the Spring a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love.” It may be true but for me it could also be said that, “In the Spring a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of baseball.” I am no longer a young man and my days of getting out on a field and shagging fly balls or even of playing catch in the yard with my dad are far behind me, but the lure of the game is still very much alive. A new season always gives me a sense of new beginnings and it revives my hope as I root for my favorite team. The last two years they made it to the World Series, hopefully this year they will finally win!
This weekend is the Fifth Sunday of the Lenten Season, It was once called Passion Sunday, because the Passion of our Lord was read at Mass on that Sunday. Now it is read on the sixth and last Sunday of Lent, Palm Sunday. The signs of the ending of the Lenten Season and the beginning of the new life of the Easter season are all around us. Last Sunday we celebrated Laetare Sunday, a time to remember to rejoice as we prepare to journey through the last days of Lent. This Sunday we hear the story from the Gospel of John of the women caught in the act of adultery. The scribes and Pharisees made her stand in the middle of a gathering crowd of townsfolks who wanted to condemn her to death by stoning in accord with the Law of Moses. When Jesus was asked what he thought, he stated, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” The crowd dispersed one at a time because they knew in their hearts they were not without sin. We know as well that we are not without sin, but thanks be to Jesus dying on the Cross to forgive us our sins.
Next Sunday we begin the liturgy recalling Jesus’ joyful entry into Jerusalem before we hear the account of His passion. All of these are signs that point us to the joy of Easter and the new life Christ brings us. But before we experience fullness of the Easter Season and the newness of life and the hope it brings, we are called to journey with Jesus to the cross.
The sacred days of the Triduum lie before us, the most sacred days of the church year. Holy Thursday Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. If you have never participated in the church’s liturgy on those days, I encourage you and your families to do so this year. Children should experience these sacred events. I remember as a young boy attending Holy Thursday and Good Friday services and they had a profound effect on my understanding of my faith. Like most youngsters I often had complained that the Mass was the same each week. Well I could not say the same about the Holy Thursday and Good Friday Liturgies, they were quite different and they helped to stir up my faith. To this day I look forward to these special liturgies that help usher in the new life that awaits us. A new season that one day will end in a new heaven and new earth. God’s blessing and peace,