Columnists Mark my words

This really is a laughing matter

Father Mark Goldasich is the pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Tonganoxie. He has been editor of the Leaven since 1989.

by Father Mark Goldasich

It’s called “the Easter laugh.” And it’s an ancient tradition well worth re-adopting.

According to, hundreds of years ago, a monk, whose name was lost in history, was pondering the events of the Triduum. He was especially taken by the astonishing event of Easter.

He thought to himself, “What a surprise ending!” And then, surprising himself, he let loose with a trumpeting laugh, disrupting the silence of his fellow monks.

“Don’t you see?” exclaimed the monk. “It was a joke! A great joke! The best joke in all history! On Good Friday, when Jesus was crucified, the devil thought he’d won. But God had the last laugh on Easter when he raised Jesus from the dead!”

Thus was born “the Easter laugh.” The idea spread from monasteries to churches, and the day after Easter became known as a “Day of Joy and Laughter,” when people told jokes to celebrate God’s great joke on the devil.

What a fun way to usher Easter joy into our families and world. To get you started, enjoy this wonderful letter:

Dear Stella,

I’m writing this letter slow because I know you can’t read fast. We don’t live where we did when you left for college. Your dad read in the newspaper that most accidents happen within 20 miles from your home, so we moved. I won’t be able to send you the address because the last family that lived here took the house numbers when they moved so that they wouldn’t have to change their address.

This place is real nice. It even has a washing machine. I’m not sure it works too well, though. Last week, I put a load in, pulled the chain and haven’t seen the clothes since.

The weather isn’t bad here. It only rained twice last week: the first time for three days and the second for four.

The coat you wanted, your Uncle Stanley said would be too heavy to send in the mail with the buttons on, so we cut them off and put them in the pockets.

John locked his keys in the car yesterday. We were worried because it took him two hours to get me and your father out.

Your sister had a baby this morning, but I haven’t found out what it is yet, so I don’t know if you’re an aunt or an uncle.

Uncle Ted fell in a whiskey vat last week. Some men tried to pull him out, but he fought them off and drowned. We had him cremated and he burned for three days.

Three of your friends went off a bridge in a pickup truck. Ralph was driving; he rolled down the window and swam to safety. Your other two friends were in back; they drowned because they couldn’t get the tailgate down.

There isn’t more news. Nothing much has happened.

Love, Mom

P.S. I was going to send you some money, but the envelope was already sealed. (Found in Brian Cavanaugh’s “Sower’s Seeds that Nurture Family Values: Sixth Planting.”)

May your Easter laugh last all through this joyful season. Smile extravagantly, be grateful for all you have and keep your eyes peeled for the humor around you.

The Lord is risen! And we are glad indeed!

About the author

Fr. Mark Goldasich

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