Our fifty days of celebration of the Easter Season continues. Citing St. Athanasius, the Norms of the Liturgical year decrees that the fifty days of this season “are celebrated in joyful exultation as one feast day, or better as one ‘great Sunday.’
Drawing on Tertullian, Augustine, and other Church Fathers, the early Christians did not conceive of these days as “time after” (Easter Sunday) or “time between” (Easter and Pentecost) but rather as a lengthy celebration of “rejoicing in the resurrection, ascension, conferral of the Spirit, and founding of the Church. The early Christian Community understood these events not as separate episodes succeeding each other in time, but as different facets of one and the same mystery of Jesus’ exaltation as Lord.”
In our region of the country, Easter corresponds with arrival of spring. As we experience the gradual warming of temperatures and the blooming of springtime flowers, we are experiencing the resurrection. This year in particular, as more people become vaccinated, we see new life in the rising of people into our community again after a long time of confinement and isolation. This too is a sign of the resurrection for us.
In addition, the season of Easter is a time for the celebration of other important sacraments. In a couple of weeks, we will celebrate the Sacrament of Penance and Eucharist with our young people for the first time. Then on Pentecost the Sacrament of Confirmation will be bestowed on our young adults. These too are signs of resurrection because they too bring about new life.
As Pope Francis said in the 2018 Easter Urbi et Orbi (to the City and the World) message: “We Christians believe and know that Christ’s resurrection is the true hope of the world, the hope that does not disappoint.” During the fifty days of Easter, that hope inspires us to live the message of Psalm 118: “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”