A day of feasting from our Easter baskets was a real holiday when we were kids. Even after a week we might have still been relishing those jelly beans hiding in the artificial grass at the bottom of our basket. But 50 days of marshmallow bunny and crème-filled eggs? I don’t think so.
It may seem hard to believe, but Easter is not over when the last Easter Lilly is removed from the sanctuary. In our Catholic liturgical tradition Easter lasts for 50 days! That’s right, Holy Mother Church and her children from as early as the third century have been letting our joy at Christ’s victory over sin and death spill over into a week of weeks. Actually a week of weeks plus one day of paschal celebration. The extra day tacked on at the end is to remind us that Christ’s resurrection did not just begin a new week; it began a whole new creation. Easter is the eighth day; the first day of a whole new world. Can you see how important Easter is?
“What Sunday is to the week, the solemnity of Easter is to the liturgical year,” says the Roman Missal. I hope you will not just hear but savor the great scriptures of this Easter season, like a child turning over that first jelly bean in her mouth on Easter morning. I hope you will joyfully and gratefully watch as the world turns green again. Let the first flowers remind you of God’s life bursting-to-be within you.
God bless you with His Easter love,
— Fr. Dan Atkins