8 things you need to know about Easter Sunday

8 things you need to know about Easter Sunday

The great day is finally here: Easter, the most important day of the Christian calendar. More important even than Christmas.

What happened on this day?

Was Jesus’ resurrection a real, historical event?

How does the Church celebrate this day?

Is Easter a pagan holiday?

Here are 8 things you need to know.

 

1. What happened on Easter?

Among other things:

  • The women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body.
  • They saw angels, who told them he wasn’t there.
  • They went to tell the apostles, who initially didn’t believe them.
  • Peter and the beloved disciple rushed to see the tomb and found it empty.
  • Mary Magdalen, in particular, had an encounter with the risen Christ.
  • So did the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
  • So did Peter.
  • So did all the apostles except Thomas (who would have one later).
  • Jesus had risen from the dead!

To read about the events in the New Testament, you can use these links:

 

2. Was Jesus’ Resurrection a real, historical event or something else?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:

639 The mystery of Christ’s resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness.

In about A.D. 56 St. Paul could already write to the Corinthians:

“I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. . ."

The Apostle speaks here of the living tradition of the Resurrection which he had learned after his conversion at the gates of Damascus.

 

3. What is the significance of the empty tomb?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:

640 . . . The first element we encounter in the framework of the Easter events is the empty tomb. In itself it is not a direct proof of Resurrection; the absence of Christ’s body from the tomb could be explained otherwise.

Nonetheless the empty tomb was still an essential sign for all. Its discovery by the disciples was the first step toward recognizing the very fact of the Resurrection.

This was the case, first with the holy women, and then with Peter. The disciple “whom Jesus loved" affirmed that when he entered the empty tomb and discovered “the linen cloths lying there", “he saw and believed".

This suggests that he realized from the empty tomb’s condition that the absence of Jesus’ body could not have been of human doing and that Jesus had not simply returned to earthly life as had been the case with Lazarus.

 

4. What significance to the post-Resurrection appearances of Christ have?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:

641 Mary Magdalene and the holy women who came to finish anointing the body of Jesus, which had been buried in haste because the Sabbath began on the evening of Good Friday, were the first to encounter the Risen One.

Thus the women were the first messengers of Christ’s Resurrection for the apostles themselves. . . .

642 Everything that happened during those Paschal days involves each of the apostles – and Peter in particular – in the building of the new era begun on Easter morning.

As witnesses of the Risen One, they remain the foundation stones of his Church. the faith of the first community of believers is based on the witness of concrete men known to the Christians and for the most part still living among them.

Peter and the Twelve are the primary “witnesses to his Resurrection", but they are not the only ones – Paul speaks clearly of more than five hundred persons to whom Jesus appeared on a single occasion and also of James and of all the apostles.

643 Given all these testimonies, Christ’s Resurrection cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as an historical fact.

 

5. What significance does Christ’s Resurrection have for us?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:

651 “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain."

The Resurrection above all constitutes the confirmation of all Christ’s works and teachings.

All truths, even those most inaccessible to human reason, find their justification if Christ by his Resurrection has given the definitive proof of his divine authority, which he had promised.

658 Christ, “the first-born from the dead" ( Col 1:18), is the principle of our own resurrection, even now by the justification of our souls (cf Rom 6:4), and one day by the new life he will impart to our bodies (cf Rom 8:11).

 

6. How do we commemorate this day?

The big celebration of Easter was on the evening of Holy Saturday. It was the Easter Vigil Mass. Consequently, Easter Sunday celebrations–at least as far as the Church is concerned (as opposed to all the egg hunts and baby ducks and marshmallow peeps)–is more restrained.

According to the main document governing the celebrations connected with Easter, Paschalis Solemnitatis:

97. Mass is to be celebrated on Easter Day with great solemnity.

It is appropriate that the penitential rite on this day take the form of a sprinkling with water blessed at the Vigil, during which the antiphon Vidi aquam, or some other song of baptismal character should be sung.

The fonts at the entrance to the church should also be filled with the same water.

 

7. What is the role of the “Paschal [i.e., Easter] candle”?

Paschales Solemnitatis explains:

99. The paschal candle has its proper place either by the ambo or by the altar and should be lit at least in all the more solemn liturgical celebrations of the season until Pentecost Sunday, whether at Mass, or at Morning and Evening Prayer.

After the Easter season the candle should be kept with honor in the baptistry, so that in the celebration of Baptism the candles of the baptized may be lit from them.

In the celebration of funerals, the paschal candle should be placed near the coffin to indicate that the death of a Christian is his own passover.

The paschal candle should not otherwise be lit nor placed in the sanctuary outside the Easter season.

 

8. Is Easter a pagan holiday?

No, because whatever it meant for ancient pagans, for Christians Easter is the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection. The fact that when it was first celebrated the feast of the Resurrection coincided with pagan celebrations doesn’t mean it was derived from them. The Jewish Passover (on which Christ was crucified) also coincided with such celebrations, yet this didn’t mean it was pagan.

As for Easter eggs, there’s nothing wrong with painting or hunting them on Easter–provided the real meaning of the day isn’t lost. As with the days of the week (the names of which are of pagan origin), any peculiarly pagan significance attached to Easter eggs was forgotten centuries ago.

16 Comments

  1. William Cross
    Apr 06, 2015 @ 08:15:34

    Thank you!

    Reply

  2. Dorothy Nanyonga
    Apr 06, 2015 @ 08:53:20

    Thanks be to God.

    Reply

  3. Juby Paul
    Apr 06, 2015 @ 09:36:36

    Thanks for giving us all details. Amen!

    Reply

  4. bittu
    Apr 06, 2015 @ 10:39:24

    Thanks bro

    Reply

  5. MISHECK MUTURI
    Apr 06, 2015 @ 11:16:57

    Thanks a well elaborated summary God bless you all. Amen.

    Reply

  6. lenny gonzalez
    Apr 06, 2015 @ 11:20:29

    Awesome job of explaining Easter.

    Reply

  7. Jeffrey Lakane
    Apr 06, 2015 @ 15:11:28

    Thank you so much for the detailed explaination…

    Reply

  8. Felix
    Apr 07, 2015 @ 03:38:36

    Thanks

    Reply

  9. Michael Maithya Lukethi
    Apr 08, 2015 @ 09:22:30

    Thanks for those great catechsimal notes,,,,,,,Glory be to God

    Reply

  10. David Guerrero
    Apr 30, 2015 @ 08:48:37

    Awesome!

    Reply

  11. Ramon Montecillo
    Aug 02, 2015 @ 16:10:36

    Thank you for enlightening us.

    Reply

  12. Abner Eugenio
    Mar 16, 2016 @ 15:19:46

    Very enlightening.

    Reply

  13. Mary Jane
    Mar 24, 2016 @ 12:43:21

    Thanks be to God!

    Reply

  14. lydia
    Mar 27, 2016 @ 16:48:15

    Glory be to God

    Reply

  15. Kathleene
    Mar 28, 2016 @ 19:48:08

    Heavenly Father, bless You for the sacrifice of Your beloved Son, to save me from my sins. In the sacrifice of the cross and Christ’s resurrection, I am able to come to the Father free of sin and eternally share paradise with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am saved, thank God I am saved. I love my God with all of my soul and give thanks for the good news. He is alive, He is alive. Our Savior has arisen!!

    Reply

Hi Beloved ! Kindly Leave a Reply

privacy policy