Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere! Halleluiah
WHAT is the feast of Easter?
The celebration of the day on which Jesus Christ, according to the predictions both of Himself and the prophets, by His almighty power, reunited His body and soul, and arose alive from the grave.
Why is this feast sometimes called Pasch or Passover?
From the Greek and Latin Pascha (Πάσχα – Pascha), the English term Easter developed from the Old English word Ēastre or Ēostre and the Hebrew פֶּסַח (Pesach), meaning “passed over” (see Exodus 12), because the destroyer of the first born in Egypt passed over the houses of the Israelites who had sprinkled the transom and posts of the door with the blood of the paschal lamb; and because the Jews were in that same night delivered from bondage, passing over through the Red Sea into the land of promise. Now we Christians are by the death and resurrection of Christ redeemed and passed over to the freedom of the children of God, so we call the day of His resurrection Pasch or Passover.
How should we observe the feast of Easter?
In such manner as to confirm our faith in Jesus Christ and in His Church, and to pass over from the death of sin to the new life of grace.
What is the meaning of “Alleluia,” so often repeated at Easter-time?
“Alleluia – הַלְלוּיָהּ” means “Praise God.” In the Introit of the Mass of the day the Church introduces Jesus Christ as risen, addressing His heavenly Father as follows: “I rose up and am still with Thee, alleluia; Thou hast laid Thy hand upon Me, alleluia. Lord, Thou hast proved Me, and know Me; Thou hast known My sitting down and My rising up.” Glory be to the Father, And to the Son, And to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, World without end. Amen.
O God, Who this day didst open to us the approach to eternity by Thy only begotten Son victorious over death, prosper by Thy grace our vows, which Thou dost anticipate by Thy inspirations. Through the same Christ our Lord, Amen.
EPISTLE. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8.
Brethren: Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new paste, as you are unleavened. For Christ our pasch is sacrificed. Therefore let us feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
The Apostles elected the leaven as a type of the moral depravity from which the Christian community and every individual Christian should be free. Let us, therefore, purge out the old leaven of sin by true penance, that we may receive our Paschal Lamb, Jesus, in the Most Holy Eucharist with a pure heart.
GOSPEL. Mark 16:1–7.
And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought sweet spices, that coming, they might anoint Jesus. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they come to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen. And they said one to another: Who shall roll us back the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And looking, they saw the stone rolled back. For it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed with a white robe: and they were astonished. Who saith to them: Be not affrighted; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he is risen, he is not here, behold the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee; there you shall see him, as he told you. Why did the holy women desire to anoint the body of Jesus with sweet spices? Out of love for Jesus. This love God rewarded by sending to them an angel, who rolled back the great stone from before the mouth of the sepulchre, comforted them, and convinced them that Christ was really risen from the dead. From this we learn that God always consoles those who seek Him. The angel sent the holy women to the disciples to console them for Christ’s death, and in order that they might make known His resurrection to the world. St. Peter was specially named not only because he was the head of the apostles, but because he was sadder and more dispirited than the others on account of his denial of Our Saviour.
How did Our Saviour prove that He was really risen from the dead?
By showing Himself first to the holy women, then to His disciples, and finally to five-hundred people at once. His disciples not only saw Him, but ate and drank with Him, not once only, but repeatedly, and for forty days. It was through combat and inexpressible sufferings that Our Saviour gained victory. So it is also with us. Only by labor, combat, and sufferings shall we win the crown of eternal life; though redeemed by Christ from the servitude of Satan and sin, we shall not be able to enter the kingdom of Christ unless, after His example and by His grace, we fight until the end against the flesh, the devil, and the world; For he also that striveth for the mastery, is not crowned, except he strive lawfully. (2 Timothy 2:5).