“Easter is over,” you might wonder, with a tone of polite annoyance . . . “Why are we still singing about it?” In many pews and churches, you might not be alone in wondering why Easter has to been drawn out into a ‘season.’ It is as if there is an anticlimax to these post-Easter days. Or, maybe it’s a matter of wanting to get on with life as usual. We seem to have a near-inexhaustible capacity for ‘relativizing’ everything. Even something as unusual as ‘resurrection,’ which has no frame of reference, is subject to our need to relegate everything to its reasonable and proper place.
Perhaps that is why, for many, Easter’s eventfulness and meaning can slip into the past with remarkable ease and once-and-for-all-ness. Easter celebrations fade quickly. In our northern continent climes minds are prompted to shift to other new-life rituals: the garden that needs planting; the lawn that needs seeding and fertilizer; the summer vacation that needs planning. We settle ourselves in what is left of Easter’s trailing wake, and head for summer with its longed-for leisure of enjoyable weather and relaxed schedules.
Yet Christ will not allow us to leave him behind. During these ‘Easter Weeks’ we find him visiting the disciples and bringing yet-amazing gifts (as if power over the grave was not enough!). He calms fears; he offers peace; he gifts the Holy Spirit to troubled souls; he feeds longing and desire for more than the next season’s routines. And, in passages such as the one from this Sunday’s gospel, he charges (even challenges) us with the post-Easter, ever-present task to “feed my sheep,” to “tend my lambs.”
Such is our role and responsibility as Christ’s followers. Reserve your debates, discussions, and disagreements. Focus on feeding. Tend to tending.
All in Christ’s name and spirit,