Understanding Easter – Apr 14
During this year of faith we should strive to understand the seasons of the Church better so as to grow in faith. Each season helps us to reflect on our lives and deepens our relationship with our Triune God. Easter is considered to be the season of seasons just as the Eucharist is considered to be the sacrament of sacraments.
Easter is derived from the Latin pasch which means Passover. Therefore Easter is the Christian Passover feast, the feast of all feasts. The brilliance of Easter illuminates all other feasts and seasons of the Church. Through His resurrection, Jesus did not just come back to life but transcended this life and united us with the Trinity. As the CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church) #638-639 reminds us, the resurrection is real and this is what we profess each Sunday in the Creed and celebrate in the Eucharist.
The period of Easter is so important that it lasts 50 days, with the feast of the Ascension celebrated 40 days after Easter and the feast of Pentecost on the fiftieth day. The first eight days after Easter is called the Easter Octave. During the Easter period the newly baptised as well as all of us should spend time reflecting on the Paschal Mystery (the passion, crucifixion, death and burial, descent into hell, resurrection and ascension CCC 512) and the graces we have received through it.
Jesus’ whole life is a mystery, his incarnation, hidden life, public life, his passion, death and resurrection (CCC 512-514). The resurrection culminates the rest of His life and the summit of our redemption was the shedding of His blood on the cross. When we meditate on the Easter mystery we avail ourselves to the graces God offers us. So it is important to spend time during this Easter period meditating and reflecting upon this great mystery of life.
Easter is the period when we spend time preparing ourselves for the outpouring of His Spirit. We should “enter the upper room” as the apostles did and pray for the spirit and pray for God’s gifts which will help us to become kingdom builders. Remember, we received these gifts at baptism and unwrapped them at confirmation. Are we using them?
Each Sunday is an Easter because Christ rose on the first day of the week and radically changed the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day. Easter is seen as the eighth day. The first creation is the seven days and the new creation through Christ is the eighth day (CCC 349). Jesus’ death and resurrection redeemed the whole of creation. The seven days of creation were renewed by this eighth day.
During this time lapsed Catholics are encouraged to return to the sacraments. Easter is a time of great grace for all.
Know your Faith
1) How many days is the Easter Season?
2) What is the liturgical colour of Easter?
3) On what important feast does the Easter season end?
4) What important feast is celebrated within the Easter season?
5) Which is the most important feast of the Church and why?
6) What is the Octave of Easter?
7) What special privilege is given to lapsed Catholics during Easter time?
8) Why is Easter called the eighth day?
9) Why is the Sabbath now on Sunday, the first day of the week?
10) Why do we worship on Sundays?
11) Why is Easter known as the Christian Passover?
1) 50 days
5) Easter, because it illuminates all other feasts.
6) The first eight days of the Easter season.
7) To be reconciled with the Church
8) Christ renewed all creation so a new day has dawned.
9) Christ rose on the first day of the week.
10) It is the day of the resurrection and each Sunday is like Easter.
11) It is the great Christian feast that celebrates God’s saving power.
Bernadette Gopaul- Ramkhalawan,Archdiocesan Catechetical Office