Rejoice, O Jerusalem!

As in atria all over, prior to Lent, the children and I buried alleluias. This is definitely one of the CGS presentations that will linger in their memories – they so enjoyed pouring sand over our beautifully decorated words while singing “Be still and know that I am God.” During that first week of Lent, they also enjoyed purposely say the beginning of the word “alle-“ so myself or other children would exaggeratedly shush them, “It’s Lent! We can’t say that word until Easter!” amid giggles.

 And then coronavirus came. Everywhere we look these days we are bombarded with updates on the pandemic. Even if we decide not to watch the news, open a paper, or more likely – go online, it stays in the forefront of our minds due to closed businesses, cancelled school, closed borders, self-quarantines, and most crushing to some, the cancellation of public Masses. Tears have been shed and prayers invoked. Holy Week and Easter are the most important days in the Christian year. To not observe the triduum with our parish communities, and worse, to not attend the Easter Vigil seems almost soul-crushing. My mother has joked it makes her feel as if she would die, but she can’t, because she wouldn’t even get a funeral!

Tomorrow is the Fourth Sunday of Lent; Laetare Sunday. I am so glad we have this reminder to rejoice! Lent is a penitential season, and we have all given up more than we expected. It is hard trying to avoid falling into despair and anxiety. Even once the season of Easter arrives, if these dramatic measures to “flatten the curve” are still in place, I am afraid many people will still think it is Lent! But Laetare Sunday rosily (see what I did there?) announces we are to rejoice!

The phrase or “Christian motto” that has been in my head all day is what I wish to impart to everyone. Through the fear and uncertainty of what is to come, we rejoice that we have been given the greatest gift – Jesus the Christ, our Savior. Even though it is Lent, and my students would (hopefully) excitedly remind me we aren’t supposed to say “the A word,” I say it now. To uplift and encourage you. No matter what challenges lie ahead, no matter how austere the Lent in our lives may seem to last, remember:
“We are an Easter people, and Alleluia is our song.”