Easter octave

The first eight days of the Easter season form the Easter octave and are celebrated as solemnities of the Lord. Each day is another little Easter. The Alleluia verse is repeated throughout the octave: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. Alleluia!”

The Gospel continues to relate the story of Christ’s resurrection — how Mary Magdalene and the other Mary meet Jesus. Jesus tells them “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

During the Easter Season, first reading is from the Acts of the Apostles. Today is Acts 2:36-41. Peter is preaching on the day of Pentecost to the Jews: “The whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ….You must repent and….be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” They repented, and 3000 were baptized that day.

Our Easter joy should be overflowing. A wonderful Ukrainian (and Polish and Slovakian) custom is the greeting of one another with the words: Khrystos Voskres(Christ is risen). The answer to this greeting is Voistynu Voskres (He is risen, indeed or He is truly risen). Let us adopt this custom to our English language and show our Easter joy to all.

Source: CatholicCulture.org

Easter Monday

The Lord has risen from the dead, as he foretold. Let there be happiness and rejoicing for he is our King forever, alleluia. According to Moses and the prophets Christ was to suffer all “these things and so to enter into His glory”. And what was this “glory” which Christ merited by His sufferings and death? It was His resurrection, His ascension into heaven, His sitting at the right hand of the Father, the homage of all the nations. It was especially the glorification of His body which only a few days ago hung mangled and lifeless on the cross.

« The risen Christ, Christ in glory, has divested himself of the things of this earth, so that we men, his brothers, should ask ourselves what things we need to get rid of. » – St Josemaria, The Forge

« “Christ is alive.” This is the great truth which fills our faith with meaning. Jesus, who died on the cross, has risen. He has triumphed over death; he has overcome sorrow, anguish and the power of darkness. “Do not be terrified” was how the angels greeted the women who came to the tomb. “Do not be terrified. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.” “This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Easter is a time of joy — a joy not confined to this period of the liturgical year, but to be found really and fully in the Christian’s heart. For Christ is alive. He is not someone who has gone, someone who existed for a time and then passed on, leaving us a wonderful example and a great memory.

No, Christ is alive. Jesus is the Emmanuel: God with us. His resurrection shows us that God does not abandon his own. He promised he would not: “Can a woman forget her baby that is still unweaned, pity no longer the son she bore in her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” And he has kept his promise. His delight is still to be with the sons of men. » – St Josemaria, Christ is passing

Easter time

The celebration of Easter is prolonged throughout the Easter season. The fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday are celebrated as one feast day, the “great Sunday.”

The Sundays of this season are regarded as Sundays of Easter and are so termed; they have precedence over all feasts of the Lord and over all solemnities. Solemnities that fall on one of these Sundays are anticipated on the Saturday. Celebrations in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary or the saints that fall during the week may not be transferred to one of these Sundays.

Intercession should be made in the Eucharistic Prayer for the newly baptized. It is also appropriate that children receive their first communion on one or other of the Sundays of Easter.

This sacred period of fifty days concludes with Pentecost Sunday, when the gift of the Holy Spirit to the apostles, the beginnings of the Church, and the start of its mission to all tongues and peoples and nations are commemorated.

“It is proper to the paschal festivity that the whole Church rejoices at the forgiveness of sins, which is not only for those who are reborn in Holy Baptism, but also for those who have long been numbered among the adopted children.” By means of a more intensive pastoral care and a deeper spiritual effort, all who celebrate the Easter feasts will, by the Lord’s grace, experience their effect in their daily lives.

Source: The Catholic Liturgical Library

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.

Prayer of the day

O God, who on this day, through your Only Begotten Son, have conquered death and unlocked for us the path to eternity, grant, we pray, that we who keep the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection may, through the renewal brought by your Spirit, rise up in the light of life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Christ is risen!

When evening fell on the Sabbath, Mary Magdalen and Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices that, going, they might anoint the dead body of Jesus. —Very early on the following day, when the sun has already risen, they come to the sepulchre (Mark 16:1‑2). And upon entering they are dismayed, for they do not find the body of Our Lord. —A youth, clothed in white, says to them: Fear not. I know that you seek Jesus of Nazareth: non est hic, surrexit enim sicut dixit, —He is not here, for He has risen, as He said (Matt 28:5).

He has risen! —Jesus has risen. He is not in the sepulchre. —Life has over­come death.

He appeared to His most Holy Mother. —He appeared to Mary of Magdala, who is carried away with love. —And to Peter and the rest of the Apostles. —And to you and me, who are His disciples and more in love than Magdalen: the things we say to Him!

May we never die through sin; may our spiritual resur­rection be eternal. —And before this decade is over, you have kissed the wounds on His feet…, and I, more daring —because I am more a child—, have placed my lips upon His open side.

Holy Thursday

With the celebration of Mass on the evening of Holy Thursday, “the Church begins the Easter Triduum and recalls the Last Supper in which the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, showing his love for those who were his own in the world, he gave his body and blood under the species of bread and wine offering to his Father and giving them to the Apostles so that they might partake of them, and he commanded them and their successors in the priesthood to perpetuate this offering.”

Careful attention should be given to the mysteries that are commemorated in this Mass: the institution of the Eucharist, the institution of the priesthood, and Christ’s command of brotherly love.

Holy Thursday is also known as “Maundy Thursday.” The word maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum(commandment) which is the first word of the Gospel acclamation:

Mandátum novum do vobis dicit Dóminus, ut diligátis ínvicem, sicut diléxi vos. “I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34)

These are the words spoken by our Lord to His apostles at the Last Supper, after he completed the washing of the feet. We should imitate Christ’s humility in the washing of the feet.

By meditating on the Gospels (cf. Matt 26:1 ff.; Mark 14:1 ff.; Luke 22:1 ff.; John 13:1 ff.), we can recall to mind Jesus’ actions of that day. Father Bernard Strasser summarizes all the events of that first Holy Thursday:

…They included: (1) the eating of the Easter lamb or the paschal meal; (2) the washing of the disciple’s feet; (3) the institution of the Most Holy Eucharist (the first Mass at which Jesus Christ, the eternal high priest, is the celebrant; the first Communion of the apostles; the first conferring of Holy Orders); (4) the foretelling of Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denials; (5) the farewell discourse and priestly prayer of Jesus; (6) the agony and capture of Jesus in the Garden of Olives. — Father Bernard Strasser, With Christ Through the Year

Chrism Mass

There are only two Masses allowed on Holy Thursday — the Chrism Mass and the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. In each diocese there is a Chrism Mass or Mass of the Holy Oils, usually said in the morning at the cathedral of the diocese. Catholics should make an effort to participate at the Mass at least once in their lives, to experience the communion of priests with their bishop. All the priests of the diocese are invited to concelebrate with the bishop. The holy oils to be used throughout the diocese for the following year in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and the Sacrament of the Sick are blessed by the bishop at this Mass. This Mass also celebrates the institution of the priesthood.

According to the ancient tradition of the Church, all Masses without the participation of the people are forbidden on this day.

Mass of the Lord’s Supper

The tabernacle should be completely empty before the celebration. Hosts for the communion of the faithful should be consecrated during that celebration. A sufficient amount of bread should be consecrated to provide also for communion the following day.

During the evening of Holy Thursday, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated. It is celebrated in the evening because the Passover began at sundown. There is only one Mass, at which the whole community and priests of the parish participate. This is a very joyful Mass, as we recall the institution of the Holy Eucharist and the priesthood. The priests wear white vestments, the altar is filled with flowers, the “Gloria in excelsis” is sung and the bells are rung.

After the “Gloria in excelsis,” we shall not hear organ music and the bells until the “Gloria in excelsis” of the Easter Vigil. The Liturgy of the Mass recalls the Passover, the Last Supper, which includes the Washing of the Feet of chosen men which represents the service and charity of Christ, who came “not to be served, but to serve.” The hymn Ubi Caritas” or Where Charity and Love Prevail” is usually sung at this time or during the offertory procession where gifts to the poor, especially those collected during Lent as the fruit of penance, may be presented.

After the postcommunion Prayer, there is no final blessing. The Holy Eucharist is carried in procession through church with the crossbearer at its head and accompanied by lighted candles and incense, and then transferred into a place of reposition, usually a side chapel. The hymn Pange Lingua is also usually sung at this time.

When the tabernacle is in a chapel separated from the central part of the church, it is appropriate to prepare the place of repose and adoration there. The Blessed Sacrament should be reserved in a closed tabernacle or pyx. Under no circumstances may it be exposed in a monstrance. The place where the tabernacle or pyx is situated must not be made to resemble a tomb, and the expression tomb is to be avoided: for the chapel of repose is not prepared so as to represent the Lord’s burial but for the custody of the eucharistic bread that will be distributed in communion on Good Friday.

After the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the faithful should be encouraged to spend a suitable period of time during the night in the church in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament that has been solemnly reserved to answer Christ’s invitation “Could you not, then, watch one hour with me?” (Matt 26:40). Where appropriate, this prolonged eucharistic adoration may be accompanied by the reading of some part of the gospel of Saint John (ch. 13-17). There is a tradition, particularly in big cities with many parishes, to try and visit seven churches and their altar of repose during this evening.

From midnight onward, however, the adoration should be made and conclude without external solemnity, for the day of the Lord’s passion has begun.

After Mass, we recall the Agony in the Garden, and the arrest and imprisonment of Jesus. The altar is stripped bare and any crosses in the church are removed or covered with a red or purple veil, unless they have already been veiled on the Saturday before the fifth Sunday of Lent. Lamps should not be lit before the images of saints.

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