THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE
“QUESTION: It is obviously right that Easter forms the high point of the liturgical year, but it seems to fizzle out a bit during Eastertide. Once we have celebrated the fact of the Resurrection, how do we keep going for weeks on end?
ANSWER: I suppose it is a weakness of fallen human nature that we are better at being miserable for weeks on end than rejoicing for the same amount of time. Perhaps too we can easily succumb to the failure of faith that sees the Resurrection as a heart-warming story rather than giving our real assent to its being the victory over sin and death and therefore the most important event in the history of the universe.
To begin with, on Easter Sunday, throughout the Octave, and for the first weeks of Eastertide, we focus on the historical event of the resurrection and the appearances of the risen Christ. We celebrate these events as real, not simply stories, and we rejoice that Christ who lives for ever is present in us and in the whole Church.
Fundamental to this rejoicing is the celebration of Baptism: we think especially of those who are baptised at Easter but we associate ourselves as those endowed with the sacramental character of Baptism, and mark this by the renewal of our own baptismal profession of faith. Naturally we then recall in the liturgy the early years of the Church, brought to life through the Holy Spirit. Hence we hear parts of Our Lord’s discourse to the apostles in which He promised the gift of the Holy Spirit, as well as passages from the Acts of the Apostles.
Pentecost encapsulates the whole of Eastertide in a feast that brings the themes of the resurrection, the gift of the Holy Spirit, baptism, and the Church together in a joyful conclusion of the season, which then gives way to an extended period in which we are called to reap the fruits of Eastertide in daily life. So rather than fizzling out, the celebration of the Resurrection is extended through the year until we prepare to celebrate it with full force once again.”
– This article by Fr Tim Finigan was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue April 18 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).