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 to the honorees. The moment is too grand, the accomplishment too significant, the affection too deep to be contained in just one moment. So, also, the Church celebrates Easter.
The Lord is risen from the dead. We cannot confine our joy to one day. So, the Church gives us not only Easter Sunday but also an Octave, eight days of solemnity, and an entire Easter Season to rejoice. During this time, the Church will lay before us the meaning of Easter. She begins 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 women at the empty tomb! Yet, the “world” at times tries to steal our joy. We must not allow this to happen. Our Lord, who lives, does not want our joy to be taken from us.
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). Jesus Christ lives.
To all of you, I wish the abiding joy of Easter!