But, now not only the calendar tells us it is spring it is also beginning to look like it. The lasts signs of winter are quickly passing, and the signs of spring are about us. The snow geese have headed north and the robins can once again be heard chirping in the yard. The flowers are once again popping through the soil as they begin their growth that will lead to their bloom. The lakes again are filling up from the winter runoff and the Spring rains.
The change of season from winter to spring is also seen clearly in the world of sports. For the basketball fans this week marks the end of the college season with the finals of March Madness. While for the baseball fans a new season gets underway! While I like most sports I must admit 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 are 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 to make it to the World Series. The last time they were there was 1988! (I will leave it to you to try to figure out the team who are my favorites.)
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 rejoice as we journey through the last days of Lent. This Sunday we hear the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. A story that foreshadows Jesus himself rising from the dead. 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 liturgy on those days, I encourage you and your families to do so this year. 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, Father Bill