|Posted by Catholicize on April 11, 2012 at 10:40 PM|
Happy Easter Wednesday!
By now most of us are back on the grind. We are at school or at work. Easter for some of us is long gone. BUT DON'T FORGET IT IS STILL EASTER!!! We are actually only four days into the 50 days of Easter! But these first eight days are most important. The first eight days of Easter are together called an octave.
I thought I would share a few brief thoughts about why we celebrate for eight days.
Before we get to the number eight let's take a moment to look at the number seven. The number seven, for the Jews, was a sacred number. It occurred many times during their cycles of the year. The seventh day (Saturday) was the Sabbath, the paschal feast lasted seven days, the feast of the tabernacles lasted seven days.
When Christ came he established a new covenant, and Sunday became the primaryday of worship. Sunday, the eighth day, was considered the new Sabbath. This idea was growing weak by the fourth century, so the first octaves were established to recall the importance of the feast. The eighth day was always the following Sunday after the primary feast. For the entire eight days the Church celebrates each day as though that day were Easter.
The Catechism also tells us about why the eighth day is especially important in paragraph number 2174: Jesus rose from the dead "on the first day of the week." Because it is the "first day," the day of Christ's Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the "eighth day" following the sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ's Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord's Day.
That is why we celebrate the eight days! To aid in the celebration here is what Pope Benedict said today on the fourth day of Easter:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In many countries Easter Monday is a holiday on which to take a stroll in natural surroundings or to visit relatives who live far away in order to gather as afamily. However, I would like that the reason for this holiday, namely, the Resurrection of Jesus, the crucial mystery of our faith, to be ever present inthe minds and hearts of Christians. Indeed, as St Paul wrote to the Corinthians,“If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Cor 15:14). Therefore on these days it is important to reinterpret the narratives of Christ’s Resurrection which we find in the four Gospels. They are accounts which present in different ways the meetings of the disciples withthe Risen Jesus and there by permit us to meditate on this wonderful event which has transformed history and gives meaning to the existence of every person.
The event of the Resurrection as such is not described by the Evangelists: it remains mysterious, not in the sense of being less real, but hidden, beyond the scope of our knowledge: like a light so bright that we cannot look at it or weshould be blinded. The narratives begin instead when, towards dawn on the dayafter Saturday, the women went to the tomb and found it open and empty. St. Matthew also speaks of an earthquake and a dazzling angel who rolled away the great stone sealing the tomb and sat on it (cf. Mt 28:2).
Having heard the angel’s announcement of the Resurrection, the women, with fear and great joy, hastened to take the news to the disciples and at that very moment encountered Jesus, prostrated themselves at his feet and worshipped him; and he said to them: “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me” (Mt 28:10). In all the Gospels, in the accounts of the appearances of the Risen Jesus, women are given ample room, as moreover also inthe accounts of Jesus’ Passion and death. In those times, in Israel the testimony of women could not possess any official or juridical value, but the women had had an experience of a special bond with the Lord, which was fundamental for the practical life of the Christian community, and this is always the case in every epoch and not only when the Church was taking her firststeps.
Mary, Mother of the Lord, of course, is the sublime and exemplary model of this relationship with Jesus, and in a special way in his Paschal Mystery. Precisely through the transforming experience of the Passover of her Son, the Virgin Mary also becomes Mother of the Church, that is, of each one of the believers and oftheir whole community. Let us now turn to her, invoking her as Regina Caeli, with the prayer that tradition has us recite instead of the Angelus throughout the Easter season. May Mary obtain for us that we experience the living presence of the Risen Lord, source of hope and peace.
Keep celebrating! Keep praying! Easter is still here!! If you can, celebrate like you did Easter Sunday! Dye some eggs, eat some ham, go to Mass! God blessyou!