I know we are now in the season of Easter, but Holy Thursday is my favorite day of the liturgical year. I can’t put my finger on the exact reason, but it always invokes a great sense of mission and service for me. Last year was the first time that I participated in Holy Thursday at my new parish. As the Gloria was sung, my eyes looked not on the words being sung, but rather on a brief explanatory phrase that appeared in the worship aid. “The bells will ring during the Gloria and then be silenced until Easter.” My previous parish didn’t ring the bells or at least I didn’t recall it. But in that moment, all I could do was keep looking at the words and then looking at the altar boy ringing the bells. Tears rolled down my face. I chalked up my emotional reaction to some jetlag, a newborn, and some beautiful music. But, then came this year. Same thing! In fact, this year a tissue was offered by a kind (and understandably concerned) stranger.
A little embarrassed, I tried to reflect on what was going on for me in that moment. The clarity I came to was that even though I celebrate Easter and profess the resurrection, my bell might as well still be silent. In the way I live, in how I look to the future, do people hear from me that “Jesus is alive!”? Or, are they confused by a man who says he believes in the Risen Lord but who acts like it’s still Good Friday? As I encounter all of the brokenness in the world and within myself, do I add to the silence or does my witness ring true to the “heart of the Christian message”? In these last weeks of the Easter Season, how loud is your ring?