The second reading of the Office of Readings was beautiful this morning. It was by St Augustine and concerned the symbolism between Lent and Eastertide. Here is what St Augustine says:
“Because there are these two ages – the one that now is, beset with the trials and troubles of this life, and the other yet to come, a life of everlasting serenity and joy – we are given two liturgical seasons, one before Easter and the other after. The season before Easter signifies the troubles in which we live here and now, while the time after Easter which we are celebrating at present signifies the happiness that will be ours in the future.”
He goes on to explain that in Lent we fast and pray while now in Eastertide we sing “Alleluia.” The singing of this season is our expression of joy. St Augustine continues:
“Both these periods are represented and demonstrated for us in Christ our head. The Lord’s passion depicts for us our present life of trial – shows how we must suffer and be afflicted and finally die. The Lord’s resurrection and glorification show us the life that will be given to us in the future.”
What a wonderful reading of hope. We all know that in this life we have the worries and cares of the world but we sometimes fail to see that there is a time after Easter, a long period, even longer than Lent, of rejoicing, the fifty days to Pentecost.
I suppose it is human nature to focus on the down side; we are not so good at looking to the glorious future when we are suffering in the present. And in no way could you blame a person for that; but it is good to remember why we say Alleluia in Eastertide, that it is a shout of joy in the risen Lord, a cry of hope in the wilderness of this life and an assurance of everlasting life.