When a grandmother celebrates her 90th birthday or a couple observes their 50th wedding anniversary, there is rarely just one celebration. Family dinners are prepared, friends host parties, and visits are planned. The moment is too grand, the accomplishment too significant, the affection too deep to be contained in just one moment. So, also, the Church realizes with Easter.
The Lord is risen from the dead. We cannot confine our joy to one day. So, the Church gives us not only an Octave, eight days of solemnity, but an entire Easter Season.
During this time, the Church will lay before us the meaning of Easter. She begins today by recounting how Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary,” “fearful yet overjoyed,” “ran to announce” the good news to the disciples and met the Resurrected Lord on the way (Matthew 28:8-9). Have you ever been “fearful yet overjoyed”? Something serendipitous occurs, and you cannot believe your eyes. It is just too good to be true. Your heart pounds and your pulse quickens. Imagine the reaction of the two Mary’s! Yet, the “world” at times tries to steal our joy.
The Gospel of St. Matthew describes how the guards reported to “the chief priests all that had happened” (Matthew 28:11). This prompted the elders to bribe the soldiers to lie and say, “His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep” (Matthew 28:13). This scheme, however, does not win the day. Lies never do. As Mary Magdalene will say, “I have seen the Lord” (John 20:18). Amen.