What follows is a particularly juicy passage from Father George W. Rutler's latest column. Father Rutler, for those who might not know, is pastor of The Church of Our Savior, on Park Avenue, of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, and author of several erudite and spiritually uplifting books.
The nineteenth-century Oxford philosopher, Richard Whately, said, "Happiness is no laughing matter." We might laugh at that, until we realize that he spoke of that blessed happiness toward which all human activity tends, but which needs knowledge of truth to become the "fullness of joy" that Jesus promised. When the risen Christ appeared, no one laughed. The witnesses were "afraid yet filled with joy." It was too joyful to be a laughing matter. This is why the Church's most joyful liturgies are "solemn" and to reduce worship of the risen Christ to a merely human party would be like turning the Heavenly City into a suburb.