Easter: April 17th
Easter Sunday, The Resurrection of the Lord
Other Titles: Feast of the Resurrection, Pascha
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Entrance Antiphon, Cf. Ps 139 (138):18, 5-6:
I have risen, and I am with you still, alleluia. You have laid your hand upon me, alleluia. Too wonderful for me, this knowledge, alleluia, alleluia.
Communion Antiphon, 1 Cor 5:7-8:
Christ our Passover has been sacrificed, alleluia; therefore let us keep the feast with the unleavened bread of purity and truth, alleluia, alleluia.
Easter is the feast of feasts, the unalloyed joy and gladness of all Christians.In the very center of the Mass, the great prayer of thanksgiving, from the first words of the Preface, expresses the unrivaled motive for this joy: if it is right to praise You, Lord, at all times, how much more so should we not glorify You on this day when Christ our Passover was sacrificed, for He is the true Lamb who took away the sins of the world, who by His Death destroyed our death and by His Resurrection restored our life. Easter means, then, Redemption obtained — sin destroyed, death overcome, divine life brought back to us, the resurrection of our body which is promised immortality. With such a certitude, we should banish all trace of sadness.Haec dies quam fecit Dominus: "This is the day which the Lord has made." Throughout the octave we shall sing of the unequaled joy which throws open eternity to us. Every Sunday will furnish a reminder of it, and from Sunday to Sunday, from year to year, the Easters of this earth will lead us to that blessed day on which Christ has promised that He will come again with glory to take us with Him into the kingdom of His Father.
Sunday Mass Readings for Year C:
The First Reading is from Acts 10: 34; 37-43. This passage from Acts has been selected for Easter Sunday not only because the Resurrection is mentioned in it, but especially because St. Peter in his first discourse to a Gentile makes the resurrection the basic doctrine and the crowning proof of the truth of the Christian faith. As St. Paul says: "If Christ has not risen vain is our preaching, vain too is your faith " (1 Cor. 15: 14). And like Paul, St. Peter stresses the truth of the resurrection by citing witnesses, including himself, who had not only seen the Risen Jesus but had spoken to him and actually eaten with him.
St. Paul tells us we must " mind the things that are above not the things that are on earth". We must never let the "things of earth", the pleasures, the power, the possessions which we can or could have in this life, block or impede us on our upward journey. Does this mean that we must all return to the deserts of Egypt, as some early Christians did? By no means. We are not forbidden to have the lawful pleasures of life. We are not forbidden possessions or power if they are used justly. All we are forbidden is the unlawful use of the things of this world.And as regards minding the things that are above, this is not something calling for extraordinary self-sacrifice or unnatural mental activity. All we are asked to do is to try to stay in God's grace, and do our daily chores whatever they be, as well and as diligently as we can. We are expected to recognize our natural weakness and to turn to God frequently for pardon and for help.Whilst there are saints in heaven who lived lives lives of extreme self-mortification and did extraordinary things for God and for their neighbor, it is an encouraging and consoling thought that there are millions of unknown saints in heaven who lived normal lives, unnoticed by the world and maybe even by themselves. They are people who kept in God's friendship all their lives, or got back quickly to it, if they sometimes forgot or offended their heavenly Father.
What millions of others have done I can do too. I am aided by God's grace as they were. God wants me in heaven. He has an Easter resurrection planned for me.The Gospel is John 20:1-9. As we said above, the accounts of the Resurrection of Christ differ in many details in the different writings of the New Testament, but the fact of the Resurrection stressed in all of them, was the basis of the new Christian Faith. Had it not happened, Christianity would have been stillborn. It would have disappeared from Jerusalem and the world on that first Easter Sunday. Peter and his companions would have returned to their fishing-nets and boats on Lake Genesareth, and Christ the good and the kind man who had helped so many, would have been forgotten in half a generation. But Christ was no mere man of kindly acts and words of wisdom. He was the Messiah promised for centuries. He was the suffering servant foretold by Isaiah, whose perfect obedience to his Father had led him to the Cross and the grave. But above all, he was the Son of God who had emptied himself (St. Paul) of his divine glory in order to be the perfect human servant of the Father, and who was now raised by the Father, with his divine glory restored, and his glorified resurrected body sharing in that glory. This was the divine plan of God for mankind, through Christ, and because of Christ, the new Adam's perfect obedence, all mankind would be made worthy of divine sonship, and worthy of one day rising like Christ from the grave in glorified bodies.Is all this too good to be true? It is, if we make God to our image and likeness, as so many opponents of Christianity do. He is God and his love is infinite and incomprehensible to us. What God can see in me and my fellowmen will always be a mystery to me, but then I have not the mind of God. All I know and all I need to know is that I have sufficient proofs that God loves all men. The Incarnation, death and Resurrection of his Divine Son for man's sake is the greatest proof of love for us that even the omnipotent God could give He has given it. As a necessary consequence from this act of divine love, we are guaranteed our resurrection from the dead to a life of unending happiness and glory if we do not, in extreme folly, reject God's offer.Today, let us thank God once more for Easter and for all that it means for us. Our personal Easter morning is not far away from even the youngest amongst us. We have a few Calvaries to climb perhaps in the meantime but what are they when we see our glorious Easter on the horizon?—Excerpted from The Sunday Readings, Cycle C by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.
Meditation—He is Risen!
"I rose up and am still with Thee." After His labors and His humiliations, Christ finds rest with His Father. "I am still with Thee." This is perfect beatitude. Through His cross He entered into the possession of eternal glory. Christ has gained the crown of victory; through Christ men also win their crowns of victory. Humanity was under a curse and subject to the wrath of God. Now that they have risen with Christ, their guilt has been destroyed. "I rose up and am still with Thee." The liturgy places these words in the mouth of the Church that she may pray them with Christ.
"The earth trembled and was still when God arose in judgment." The resurrection of Christ is the judgment and condemnation of those who have turned away from God. This judgment was prefigured by the angel who passed through the land of Egypt destroying the first-born of the Egyptians. The Israelites marked the doors of their houses with the blood of the paschal lamb. We are the new Israel, and "Christ our Pasch is sacrificed." We mark ourselves with His blood, which we enjoy in the Holy Eucharist. We have been pardoned, we are saved, we shall live.
"He is risen." The resurrection of Christ is a pledge of our own resurrection. It is the foundation upon which our faith rests. It is the guarantee of our redemption and God's assurance that our sins are forgiven and that we are called to eternal life. "This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us be glad and rejoice therein. Give praise to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever. Alleluia."
"Christ our Pasch is sacrificed. . . . The Lamb redeems the sheep. Christ, the innocent One, hath reconciled sinners to the Father."
—Excerpted from The Light of the World by Benedict Baur, O.S.B.
See Catholic Culture's Easter Workshop for various ideas of celebrating the Easter season.
Easter Sunday, The Resurrection of the Lord
Station with Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major):
The Station is at St. Mary Major, the principal church of all those that are dedicated to the Mother of God in the holy city. This is to associate with the Paschal solemnity the memory of her, who, more than all other creatures, had merited its joys, not only because of the exceptional share she had had in all the sufferings of Jesus, but also because of the unshaken faith wherewith, during those long and cruel hours of his lying in the tomb, she had awaited his Resurrection.
For more on Santa Maria Maggiore, see:
For further information on the Station Churches, see The Stational Church.