The Easter Season and the Early Church
Dear Parishioners of Saint Andrew:
Easter is more than a day. In fact, the Church celebrates Easter for fifty days, known liturgically as the Easter Season. Whereas we spent forty days in Lent preparing for the celebration the Sacred Paschal Triduum, the Church now invites us to spend fifty days celebrating the new life Christ brings us by his resurrection from the dead. The first week of the Easter Season, known as the Easter Octave, ends today with the Sunday of Divine Mercy. The Easter Season will also include Good Shepherd Sunday on the fourth Sunday of Easter (April 25), Ascension Sunday (May 16) and will culminate with the celebration of Pentecost (May 23).
One notable aspect of the Easter Season is that the first reading at Sunday Masses comes from the Acts of the Apostles. Whereas during the rest of the liturgical year the first reading is from one of the books of the Old Testament, during the Easter Season the readings from the Acts of the Apostles tell us how the Church grew in the days following Pentecost. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Apostles boldly preached about Jesus Christ and his Gospel of salvation, beginning in Jerusalem and then at many other places. Thousands upon thousands believed the Gospel and were baptized. This is not merely a study in early Church history; it is a reminder that the basic mission of the Church is to make Christ known to all the world. As we say in the Creed, we believe in a Church that is “apostolic”, meaning we have been sent by Christ to share with others the Good News of salvation in his name.
During these fifty days of the Easter Season, I pray that all of us will learn from and be inspired by the Apostles and the first Christians – the early Church. So, transformed by the joy of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and on fire with the Holy Spirit, we will invite others to a closer relationship with the Lord, within the communion of the Church. Happy Easter!
May the Lord continue to bless you and you families with His love!
Monsignor Michael A. Souckar