As we proceed through the Easter Season, the Holy Spirit emerges more and more in the readings, and the Gospels have returned to Saint John’s account of the Last Supper.
It’s not that there are too few accounts of the Lord’s Resurrection; rather it’s the circular nature of the liturgy.
I suspect that is foreign to our linear thinking. Don’t we label destructive behavior as a “vicious circle”? Aren’t we bored by repetition or see it as lesson not well learned?
And yet our scientific culture speaks of space as curved and the possibility of time as circular. Or consider the hologram, in which the entire three-dimensional image is posited by each distinct part, as the whole posits each connecting segment. We’d be missing something essential, should we dismiss the ancient intuition of the cycle of celebration preserved by the Liturgy.
In the liturgy, we do not re-enact the Nativity or the Resurrection or the Ascension. We do not re-enact but, as today’s Collect reminds us, we relive these mysteries. Living admits no forgone conclusion; it is ever new, unique.
Nor do we unpack these mysteries once a year like heirloom Christmas ornaments. We celebrate the wholeness and the interconnectedness of these mysteries generating one another, knitting one another into an organic whole.
Just as the Eucharist describes an arc from the Last Supper, to the Passion and Death of the Lord onto his eternal Presence through his Resurrection, it encompasses feast, sacrifice, presence and mystical Body. It also recalls the necessary Incarnation, the Lord’s healings and exorcisms, feeding the multitude, redeeming the bound; his saving Word, his transfigured glory. They are no longer limited to one time or place.
It is not as if the Holy Spirit will be absent until the Sunday after next. Isn’t it precisely because the Spirit is silently with us, animating us, that we can pray again, “Come, Holy Spirit,” understanding anew what those words promise, aligning our longing with God’s search for us?