For many, the sixth Sunday of Easter is less important than the fact that this is the first May Bank Holiday week-end and the weather is glorious. It would be silly, as well as churlish, not to rejoice in both. The extra leisure that the Bank Holiday gives, the sunshine, and the richness of the Eastertide liturgy transform the quietness of Sunday into something more, something immensely attractive and creative.
We have the gospel of John 15.9-17 to electrify us with its promise of friendship with Christ IF we do as he commands, and a whole day in which to live in his presence, rejoicing that the world contains so much beauty. Here in the monastery that means the regular round of prayer and reading is maintained, out of sight of everyone except God and ourselves; the monastic dinner is rather better, and the monastery dog indulged a little more, than on other days of the week; and there is a total ban on anything that might lead to arguments and disputes — no ‘fraternal corrections’ of any kind! This is not absence or emptiness or constraint; it is trying to live as we are meant to live every day of the week. As today’s reading from the Rule reminds us, our lives are lengthened so that we may amend our evil ways. (RB Prol. 33-38) Our ways may not seem very evil to us, but we all fall short of the glory of God and have something more to learn until our very last breath. Today is a day of boundless possibility. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.