Reenactments have become a big part of our life in society. Many often reenact big events especially in regards to local historical events. Just this past weekend, we had the reenactment of the Goliad Massacre.
People dress up. They get into the mindset of the era of the particular event with clothing, weaponry, even food and drink.
We do it in order to remember, to not forget, but mostly to deepen our appreciation for those who have gone before us, perhaps that we might be a little more grateful as we move forward.
It is an intense emotional experience for many. It helps the past become real and tangible. We need the the past to be real and tangible. Now whether you like or dislike these reenactments, doesn't really matter.
We do them. We do them in the church as well.
Palm Sunday is a reenactment. We have a procession. We wave palms in the air. We unite our voices to the crowd as we sing Hosanna to the son of David. Then we allow the words of the crowd to be pressed upon our lips when we shout 'crucify him.'
We don't stop there. Holy Thursday we reenact the washing of the feet. The priest takes off his outer garment and bends low to wash the feet of the men chosen as they represent the apostles. We witness the humility of Christ as seen in the person of the priest. Though it isn't exactly historical, nonetheless it makes it real and tangible and for some an intense emotional experience.
Friday we had the living stations. Again, people reenacted the way the cross and the crucifixion. Then we gathered and had the veneration of the cross. We touched it, kissed it, bowed low before it. Again we entered the passion of Christ and witnessed his breathing his last. Then Friday evening we had the Tenebre service of the burial service of Christ as we read the ancient psalms from the Old Testament. Psalms that were read long before the time of Christ. We place a burial cloth over the statue of the deceased Savior.
We extinguished the candles one by one until only one solitary flame remained as a symbol and sign of hope to come.
On the Easter vigil we continue our reenactments. But rather than one moment in time we reenact the moment before time.
We start outside in the dark. The darkness represents the time before time when the world was a formless waste. The darkness represents danger and uncertainty. We gathered around the fire burning bright on the outside of the church which represents the presence of God outside of time and space.
Then with a word the fire leapt from the outside to the inside with a single solitary flame. Of course this brings us back to the words of the Genesis, God spoke let there be light an light was.
Then the light was proclaimed as it slowly spread through the church, as the light of God's word spread through the world. Each proclamation represents God entering into time and space making himself known, preparing us for the gift of his son. This is why the proclamation is the, "light of Christ" because everything prefigure Christ. Then after each proclamation pressed upon our lips was the only suitable and fitting response, "Thanks be to God."
Gratitude is the only response to the gift offered, God's presence in our midst.
Then after the third proclamation, the whole church was bathed in light. The third proclamation represents of course the third day. The third day represents hope for all humanity. From the resurrection, light began to spread through whole world. The light of the resurrection illumines the darkness of man's mind and heart. It imparts to us the importance of the missionaries who carried the light of faith to the far corners of the world.
Then we nestled down and retold the economy of salvation history. We read how God intervened in history continually.
We entered in to the narrative from the beginning of Genesis, through Abraham's ready willingness to sacrifice Isaac, through Moses and the Israelites marching forth on dry ground, to Isaiah's prophecy of the maker becoming our husband, God's desire to unite himself completely to us.
Then St Paul spoke of how Baptism initiates us into the life of Christ.
It is how we become part of the story of salvation, a story that in light of the resurrection has no end.
Then the gospel retells the resurrection. The women go the tomb and are amazed, yet they are told not to be amazed, which I find amazing.
Should we not be amazed by the resurrection. We should be amazed, only if we doubted God's word. Jesus simply does what he said he would do. So we should not be amazed. We should expect the unexpected. We should expect God to fulfill his end of the bargain and to fulfill our end as well.
In the resurrection God offers us the single most important gift, "All that is mine is yours."
God never tires of intervening on our behalf. He is relentless. He is risen. He offers us love with out reserve; love that knows no bounds. Love shows itself indestructible.. Life stretches itself out toward a boundless future.
Amazement has become for us the new normal. This is why we are told in the gospel, "do not be amazed."
Jesus has proven he is the way the truth, the life.