Christ has Risen, as He said He would, Alleluia!!!
Happy & blessed Easter to everyone. I pray you have a blessed and joyous Easter Sunday & Season.
As Catholic Christians, we are never content simply to celebrate such important events with just one day. The Church officially has an Octave (8-days) celebration for Easter. This Octave celebration will run through next Sunday when we rejoice in God’s Divine Mercy won for us by the Cross & Resurrection. The Easter Octave allows us to celebrate more full the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and to allow the full force of God’s saving act to seep more deeply into our beings - heart and soul.
Every year during my Lenten preparation, I find myself fighting the inner feeling that I’m supposed to engage in some sort of spiritual forgetfulness. I get this feeling like I’m supposed to approach Easter as if I don’t know what will happen. To act in some way spiritually as if Jesus hadn’t yet died or risen. I of course know that isn’t true. The Paschal Mystery of Jesus’ suffering – death – resurrection is a past historical event in time with impact in the present. I know that, but I also want the power of the Resurrection to strike me full force once again. In part, I don’t think this is unhealthy or unholy. I am in a different place today than I was a year ago last Easter Sunday. My relationship with Christ, the Church, my parish community are different. Thankfully they are mostly better. And so, I do experience the Resurrection account of Easter in a new and fresh way. Jesus wants to do something new in me and in you to draw us ever deeper in to encounter. It can be spiritually dangerous for us to become overly placid or familiar with where Christ is in our lives, to fail to expect the new encounter.
Sometimes in the Easter season, I feel a correspondingly related inner feeling that I’m supposed to engage in a different sort of spiritual forgetfulness. I get the feeling like I’m supposed to live in the Easter season as if Christ’s death is happily and completely behind us, in the distant historical past. Now we are supposed to be somehow only mindful, alert to, and rejoicing in Jesus’ Resurrection, Glorification, Ascension. And yet, the Paschal Mystery of Jesus suffering – death –resurrection is not just a past historical event even now. Because Jesus is fully divine – truly the Son of God – it is a present event. He transcends time & place. Just as His Resurrection was ever-present during the prayerful experience of Lent, His Cross is equally ever-present in this season of Easter. For it is always this same Paschal Mystery that we encounter – celebrate – participate in the Mass. It is the same Cross. It is the same sacrificial death. It is the same resurrection and glorified Christ. And this is precisely why we don’t just go to Mass on Easter Sunday. It’s why we extend Easter to an Octave of Days. Its why there is an extended Season of Easter. It is why we are called, invited, encouraged, and yes, expected to participate in the Mass (at least) every Sunday, as a mini-Easter. For when in our life throughout the year, would we not need to encounter & embrace anew the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord? How could so wondrous an Event be marked by only a single day of the year. An event that itself cannot be contained in those historical days 2000 years ago, cannot truly be contained in only today.
Happy Easter! Please don’t forget to live it out each day, especially each and every Sunday!
Nothing Less than saints for the Holy Family of God.
Holy Family, Source of New Life, Pray for us.
~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries