Easter’s Over….NOT!

Today is Monday in the Octave of Easter.  For Catholic Christians, Easter Sunday is the beginning, not the end.  Like the season of Christmas which begins on December 24, the season of Easter begins on the first Sunday following the first full moon following the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, the day we call Easter Sunday.  The Easter season ends with Pentecost, which this year is on June 12.

While we may eat all the candy and put away all the bunnies and plastic eggs and while the stores may be selling Easter goodies for half price, for us Easter will continue well into summer.  In fact, Easter Sunday, 2011 fell just one day shy of the latest date it can possibly be.  Next year it will fall on April 8.

If you want to be technical about it, we celebrate Jesus’ amazing resurrection every time we go to mass.  But for now, let’s focus on the season of Easter.  Even secular society has an Easter tradition, as much as some people rail against it.  Our elected employees in Washington are currently enjoying their “Easter recess”.  Stock markets are closed on Good Friday.  Public schools give kids some time off for Easter, usually Good Friday and what we used to call “Good Monday”.  Of course for me and my semi-heathen friends, it was “good” because we didn’t have to go to school.  Even most retailers are closed, or have limited hours, on Easter Sunday.  Our atheist brothers and sisters must abstain from grocery shopping on that day, whether they like it or not.  (I wonder if they realize that we pray for them on Good Friday?)

The thing is, the date chosen to commemorate our Savior’s resurrection isn’t set in stone.  Our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters use a different calendar, so our Easter’s don’t always coincide, thought this year they did.  Time is strictly a human concept.  God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit aren’t restricted by clocks and calendars.  1,000 years is a moment to God and a moment is 1,000 years.  We celebrate Easter, both the day and the season, in the spring.  Resurrection equals new life and spring equals new life.  Easter would be just as meaningful if it were celebrated in August, but I think spring is a much better fit.

So, let’s not forget that the next weeks aren’t just about baseball, and graduations, and spring vacations.  Our churches will remain in their Easter trim until June 12.  Priests and deacons will wear white vestments and we’ll sing Easter songs.  All these things are to remind us that Jesus died and rose so that you and I might have eternal life.  It’s not just a one day thing.

PS.  Readership of my little dog and pony show jumped dramatically during Holy Week.  If you’re a new reader (or even if you’re a long-time follower) I want to welcome you and thank you for visiting.  It’s good to know that I’m putting something on the web that’s worth a bit of your valuable time.  The Holy Spirit (the real author of most posts) and I thank you.

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