I believe she orchestrated the filling of two pews, just of her family members. She was Easter.
As individuals and couples with small children arrived at Mass this morning, the joyful, smiling senior woman a few pews up from me was busy signaling select individuals and family units to join her. Her greetings of smiles, hugs and kisses indicated her familiarity with all of them, and signaled an unabashed welcome. When all was said and done, she had gathered around her two pews worth of family.
As the pastor delivered the homily, I thought that the woman-gatherer personified Easter—its meaning and its intention.
Easter is a new beginning—a fresh start after the labors of living. Easter worshippers in their new clothes (less a tradition nowadays, except for the young ones) come together. The woman-gatherer welcomed each fellow pew-sitter with warmth and joy, just as the church welcomes all with warmth and joy during this opportunity to celebrate the chance to start anew while recognizing the power of resurrection—whether personal or spiritual.
She was also the force behind the bringing together of many. Easter is, after all, an invitation to gather in order to ponder and celebrate the day’s meaning for each of us. A resurrection of one was a cause of celebration, salvation and gathering for uncountable numbers hence.
So, I sit in the pew, listening to prayers and recitations that I am quite familiar with, but it was the face of a woman that I have never seen in a church that I don’t frequent that reminded me of the value of the day—come together, accepted and loved, to rejoice and be rejoiced for life goes on with hope and joy.
Happy Easter everyone.