“Happy Easter! Christ has risen!” I said to my children on the Wednesday morning after Easter, as I had done each day since Easter Sunday. “Stop saying it every day!” my children bellowed. “I can’t!” I replied, “It’s still Easter.” Being consoled by the fact that the Octave of Easter was almost over and with it my Easter greeting, I was allowed a few more Easter greetings that week.
Perhaps my children never heard the famous quote from Saint Pope John Paul II: “We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song!”
While the secular world was finished with Easter and before John could beat Peter to the tomb, (if you know, you know), we Catholics must continue to celebrate Easter throughout the entire 50 days and educate and encourage our family and friends to do so as well!
As I explained to my children later that day while they enjoyed their chocolate and Easter goodies, Easter did not end on Sunday. In fact, it just began. Easter lasts for a full 8 days. Then, Eastertide continues for 50 days through the Ascension of Our Lord to Pentecost Sunday.
Fifty days for the most important liturgical season in our Catholic faith!
Eventually the “Happy Easter” greetings, candy, treats and desserts will fade away, however, the joy in knowing Our Lord and Savior conquered death, opened the gates of Heaven and will one day — God willing — welcome us into His Kingdom to live with Him forever should reign in our hearts forever.
It can be easy to lose the joy and excitement that Easter brings and slip back into the mundane, stressful and chaotic routines of everyday life. When this happens, and it happens to us all, let us meditate on the following scripture from John 14:1-3 where Jesus says:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.”
That is why we celebrate and feast after our Lenten fast. Not because chocolate tastes so much better after not having it for 40 days —although it really does! But because as St. John Chrysostom once said in an Easter homily: “Let all pious men and all lovers of God rejoice in the splendor of this feast.”
For our family, feasting and fasting are equally important when rightly ordered. It would be sinful to feast during times when we should be fasting and similarly, it would be unfitting to fast when we should be feasting.
Again, we can turn to scripture and recall what Jesus said in Mark 2:19: “Can the children of the marriage fast, as long as the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.”
If the joy of Easter starts to fade away, look towards heaven and remember that thanks to the sacraments given to us by Jesus Christ through the Catholic Church, we will be happy with Him in heaven celebrating an Easter feast that we could never imagine on earth.
As Saint Paul says: “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9).
Christ Has Risen! He is risen indeed!
Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere!
Christina Frye is a lifelong Rhode Islander, wife, mother and founder of Catholic Mom Rhode Island, www.CatholicMomRI.com.