Mission Blog: The Liturgical Season of Easter
While the secular world moves on from bunnies and chocolate, the Church continues to celebrate Easter long after the final leftovers are eaten. The Easter season is the second-longest liturgical season. Only Ordinary Time is longer.
The word “Easter” comes from Old English, meaning simply the “East.” The sun, which rises in the East, bringing light, warmth, and hope, is a symbol for Christians of the risen Christ, who is the true light of the world.
The Church celebrates the Easter season (also known as “Eastertide”) for 50 days, culminating with the feast of Pentecost, where Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles.
At Easter, we rejoice in the empty tomb — Jesus’s resurrection. Easter is the day Jesus rose from the dead after being crucified.
The empty tomb means that Jesus’ words rang true. He fulfilled the promises of Scripture and conquered sin and death. Had Jesus not risen from the dead, the world would have seen Him as just a prophet or teacher instead of who he is: the Son of God, the Messiah.
Because of Easter, we know that God is always with us no matter what sufferings we experience or what sins we struggle with.
Easter is everything. And its significance is clear from the start in the Bible.
Each of the Gospels has an account of Jesus’s resurrection – the world-changing miracle at the heart of Easter. John’s version depicts Mary beckoning Simon Peter and the other disciples to inspect the tomb after she saw that the stone had been rolled away. Matthew’s account of the empty tomb includes mention of a violent earthquake and angels descending down to earth. While Paul discussed the Resurrection, and its importance, at length in his first letter to a group of early Christians known as the Corinthians.
For Roman Catholics and other Western branches of Christianity, the tradition of celebrating Easter on the first Sunday following the first full moon of spring dates back to the Council of Nicaea in 325.
Unlike holidays like Christmas (25 December) that are fixed on the calendar, Easter is what’s known as a floating holiday. The actual date we celebrate Easter changes year to year.
In general, prayers during Easter are especially celebratory. So, I offer this prayer of celebration to you today as we enjoy this joyous season of Easter.
“May the glory and the promise of this joyous time of year bring peace and happiness to you and those you hold most dear. And may Christ, Our Risen Saviour, always be there by your side to bless you most abundantly and be your loving guide. Amen”
Melissa Trolio | Director of Mission