The 50-Days of Easter
Many people may believe that the season of Easter ends, not begins, today. Actually, Easter stops Lent and the long, dry season of repentance. The celebration of the resurrection begins. Easter season consists of a series of seven weeks ending in Pentecost. Just as Christmas season extends beyond Christmas day, the season of Easter lasts beyond Easter Sunday. According to Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M., “The liturgical year is the arrangement of the Church’s celebrations of the various events in the life of Christ and the mysteries of our faith throughout the year. From the time of the Apostles, Christians have gathered together on the first day of the week, the day of the Resurrection, the Lord’s Day, to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. In the course of time, these weeks were organized into two “seasons”: Lent/ Easter and Advent/Christmas. Between the seasons of Lent/Easter and Advent/ Christmas we have two periods of non-seasonal time, “Ordinary Time,” so named for the Latin ordo, “the order of things.” This sequence of Sundays and seasons is punctuated by celebrations of various feasts of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints.”
With the arrival of Easter, it is important to linger in this season and enjoy the resurrection before moving into the ordinary days. Without the Easter season, we are left with only one day to recover from our forty days of Lent. Perhaps that is why the early church decided to make the Easter season a full fifty days.
What does it mean to celebrate the resurrection? Today the homily at church was about believing the unbelievable. After all, what is more unbelievable than the resurrection? If you stop and think, saints and sinners alike confront the unbelievable every day. Easter is the perfect season to reflect on the marvels surrounding us.
Here are a few quotes about miracles:
Walt Whitman said, “To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle. Every cubic inch of space is a miracle.”
Willa Cather said, “The miracles of the church seem to me to rest not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from afar off, but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always.”
And, Anne Morrow Lindbergh summed it up by saying, “I don’t see why I am always asking for private, individual, selfish miracles when every year there are miracles like white dogwood.”
This springtime, surely we will see miracles every day. As I celebrate the resurrection for the next fifty days, I am going to be on the lookout for those “miracles like white dogwood”–last week’s Blood Moon, a “dead” bush sprouting, a beautiful poem, a soprano singing Hallelujah.
Happy Easter. See how many miracles you can find.