A wondrous night

As I walked home from Easter vigil mass late last night near Beverly Hills, I noticed that the street—lighted sidewalks were oddly crowded. It wasn't just Catholics and other Christians walking home from their churches after candlelight procession ceremonies, it was Orthodox Jewish families — mother, father, children, always at least one in a stroller, walking home from Passover services at exactly the same time — 11 p.m. Everyone was smiling and greeting each other, and all were wearing their best clothes. The atmosphere was downright jubilant as the invisible spirit of Easter and Passover somehow mingled together amid the darkened palms, tiles and bougainvillea of one corner of Los Angeles.

There were so many unusual things about it, that I had to take note: First, it was a joy to know that Americans could still dress up for religious services as they did some 40 years ago. How different that is from what we often see. It was also a joy that such people could turn out in large numbers, given this era of low religious participation. It was fascinating to see all of this at such a late hour, well outside any possible media scrutiny.

But the best part was the American part: that the two different, but related, faiths could peacefully celebrate their great holy days on the same night and return home at a late hour in perfect peace and harmony.

Did our same God provide the calendar alignment of the two holidays just to show us all this wondrous spectacle and encourage us? If so, it was a divine gift. Maybe He did.

A.M. Mora y Leon 04 16 06  

As I walked home from Easter vigil mass late last night near Beverly Hills, I noticed that the street—lighted sidewalks were oddly crowded. It wasn't just Catholics and other Christians walking home from their churches after candlelight procession ceremonies, it was Orthodox Jewish families — mother, father, children, always at least one in a stroller, walking home from Passover services at exactly the same time — 11 p.m. Everyone was smiling and greeting each other, and all were wearing their best clothes. The atmosphere was downright jubilant as the invisible spirit of Easter and Passover somehow mingled together amid the darkened palms, tiles and bougainvillea of one corner of Los Angeles.

There were so many unusual things about it, that I had to take note: First, it was a joy to know that Americans could still dress up for religious services as they did some 40 years ago. How different that is from what we often see. It was also a joy that such people could turn out in large numbers, given this era of low religious participation. It was fascinating to see all of this at such a late hour, well outside any possible media scrutiny.

But the best part was the American part: that the two different, but related, faiths could peacefully celebrate their great holy days on the same night and return home at a late hour in perfect peace and harmony.

Did our same God provide the calendar alignment of the two holidays just to show us all this wondrous spectacle and encourage us? If so, it was a divine gift. Maybe He did.

A.M. Mora y Leon 04 16 06