Easter is the greatest feast in the Church's calendar. This is the feast from which all others stem — the only feast kept by the early followers of the Lord. The Resurrection is so important that the Lord's followers observe every Sunday as the Lord's Day, as a "little Easter."
Lent has prepared us for the Resurrection feast. Now in similar fashion the Easter Season is the liturgical continuation of this greatest of feasts. The Easter Season lasts for 50 days. This amounts to seven weeks (or octves), crowned with the feast of Pentecost. At Pentecost Vigil Mass, in fact we say: "fifty days have celebrated the fullness of the mystery of your revealed love."
This entire Season is designed as a prolongation of Easter. The feast of the Ascension occurs 40 days, but this does not change the spirit of the Easter Season. The Ascension celebration helps us look forward even more expectantly to the Holy Spirit and Pentecost.
There are two special characteristics of the Easter Season. First is the Paschal Candle, which until Pentecost burns brightly at our liturgical celebrations. Second is the "Alleluia" — our victory cry, or acclamation, over the Resurrection of our own Lord. "Alleluia" or "Hallelujah" is a Hebrew word meaning "Praise the Lord."
In the Book of Revelation this is a special song of those who have been saved. As Augustine said, "We are Easter men and Alleluia is our song." We stand for the Alleluia — as a physical reminder of Resurrection.
The first week of the Easter Season is special. This is the Octave of Easter or Easter Week — possessing an essential oneness by which every Mass is like Easter itself, and every Easter Week are among the most stirring and dramatic of the entire year.
During Easter Season we read the Acts of the Apostles. This book, traditionally read after Easter, demonstrates the impact of the risen Christ on the young Church. The special "Gospel of the 50 Days," John, is theological and strongly reflective of the Lord's Resurrection.
-VATICAN II Weekday Missal
On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
"They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don't know where they put Him."
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered His head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that He had to rise from the dead.
- How did you grow deeper in your faith this Lent?
- Where do you see Jesus alive in your own life?
- How can you live out the joy of Christ’s Resurrection?
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