Once again the Mardi Gras celebrations are crescendoing towards Fat Tuesday and Catholic Choirs are getting their lenten assignments. For many Catholic choirs Lent means that it's time to throw away all notions of joy and hope and instead replace them with mea culpa inspired music that is more commonly found at funerals.
Contrary to the common belief implied by this, Jesus Christ has not died yet in the liturgical calendar and in fact I've peeked ahead at the next chapter and ... ready for this? Jesus Christ rises triumphantly from the dead and conquers the sins of the world. Wow now that's pretty powerful stuff.
Perhaps instead of focusing soley on the pensive pentitent side of the Lenten journey, we need to take a broader reflection on what it is that Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. Yes he suffered and died, but it was so that we could live fully in his kingdom after our human death. To me Lent should be more a time to reflect on what that means to us. We should celebrate the events of the Lenten journey as the steps that lead us to that fullness of redeption that Jesus provides for us. Am I suggesting that Lent be a party? No, but it doesn't have to be spiritually dead either. Even at the end of the journey, Jesus celebrated the Passover feast which was a joyous occasion. I can imagine Jesus and the Apostles eating and drinking like any group of friends. Likewise we can still enjoy life during this Lenten season and as a church I belive we should still be able to enjoy Mass.
Ok for those of you that are now saying "Enjoy Mass? Mass isn't for enjoyment," I say, yes it is. Mass is a celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus. It's not a funeral for Jesus. We honor the death of Jesus with the absence of a celebration of Mass on Good Friday. The rest of the year we celebrate the resurrection!
Well now that I've said my piece, I'll disappear into the crowd until the Easter season when the Church remembers what it's like to smile.