The Easter Octave: Rippling Joy

“Would you like to go to Easter egg hunt?” “No, I am too old for that.” At some point, we hear that response from children. The excitement for the Easter egg hunts and the chocolate bunnies starts to fade away. And this is normal. But we adults do not have to give up our childhood Easter egg hunt just because we have grown to a certain age. If the joy of an Easter egg hunt comes with finding a hidden egg, then we can discover hidden joy in our everyday lives. All authentic joys are rooted in Christ. His Resurrection brings joy to the world and transforms it, rescuing it from the place of spiritual darkness.  

“Christ is risen!” “He is risen indeed!” Eastern Christians use this greeting and response throughout the Easter season. In the Roman Catholic Church, Easter lasts fifty days, beginning on Easter Sunday and ending on Pentecost Sunday. But the first eight days are the most important, bearing the same festive characteristics of Easter Sunday itself. We call that period of eight days an octave. Think of every day in the Octave of Easter as another Easter Sunday. Like a drop of water that makes a ripple on the surface of a lake, the joy of Easter is so great that it diffuses out, rippling through time. And, we may ask, what joy are we celebrating? 

It is the joy of the resurrection of Christ. It is in His resurrection that we find hope for eternal life. Through His Resurrection and Ascension, we know that Heaven exists, that eternal life exists, and that God prepares it for those who follow Christ. Scripture says, “For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life” (1 Cor 15: 22). The Resurrection of Christ that we celebrate in these eight days reminds us that Christ brings us new life—the new life of the children of God. This is felt most ardently by those who have just been baptized at the Easter Vigil, but even those of us who have been baptized for a long time should renew our baptismal joy, as well. We are called to remember the grace of baptism by which we have been completely made new. That new life brought to us by the Resurrected Christ is the most precious gift that we can receive. May God, through the intercession of the joyful Mother of Christ, bless us abundantly and pour into our hearts the joy of the Resurrection of Christ.  

Br. Alphonsus Vu, O.P. | Meet the Brothers in Formation HERE