“This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.”
– Psalm 118:24
This Sunday marks the beginning of the Easter Octave; eight whole days dedicated to the celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection ending on Divine Mercy Sunday. Each day of this Octave is a Solemnity, the highest of feasts! This gives us the time to contemplate the mysteries, joys, and graces of the greatest feast of the Church.
The idea of a ‘great feast’ has its roots in the Old Testament and Judaism. Many Jewish feasts are celebrated for several days including Passover and the feast of Tabernacles.
In order to celebrate the greatest of feasts, we must recognize the importance of Holy Week, more specifically, the importance of Christ’s sacrifice on Good Friday:
“If Holy Week is the most sacred and most important week of the entire ecclesiastical year, it is because it draws its importance from Good Friday, the day on which Christ, the God-Man and Redeemer, died on the cross for us. Rightly therefore can this week be considered the most serious and awe-inspiring in the Church’s calendar. But Easter Week is the antithesis of Holy Week. Since the resurrection was the most significant event in the life of our Lord who by means of this wonderful and undeniable fact made His divinity known to the entire world, Easter is the highest Sunday and Easter Week the great week of the entire Church year. No other feast is ever celebrated during this week..” (With Christ Through the Year, 1947, Bernard Strasser, p. 144).
Although the Octave of Solemnities comes to a close on Divine Mercy Sunday, it does not mean the ending of Easter itself. The Easter Season continues until Pentecost, lasting longer than the Lenten Season which has prepared us for this moment.
Continue to celebrate this Easter Season with joy in our hearts, marveling at Jesus’ triumph over death itself and recognizing His great love for us!
Have a Blessed Easter!