Jesus rises from the dead on Easter Sunday, glorious and immortal, as He has predicted (Matt. 28:1-7). On the day of His Resurrection Jesus Christ left in the tomb the shroud which is the symbol of our infirmities, our weaknesses, our imperfections. Christ comes from the tomb triumphant - completely free of earthly limitation; He is animated with a life that is intense and perfect, and which vibrates in every fiber of His being. In Him everything that is mortal has been absorbed by His glorified life. Here is the first element of the sanctity represented in the risen Christ: the elimination of everything that is corruptible, everything that is earthly and created; freedom from all defects, all infirmities, all capacity for suffering. But there is also another element of sanctity: union with God, self-oblation and consecration to God. Only in heaven shall we be able to understand how completely Jesus lived for His Father during these blessed days. The life of the risen Christ became an infinite source of glory for His Father. Not a single effect of His sufferings was left in Him, for now everything in Him shone with brilliance and beauty and possessed strength and life; every atom of His being sang an unceasing canticle of praise. His holy humanity offered itself in a new manner to the glory of the Father.
Shroud of Turin
The linen cloth, believed to be the burial cloth of Jesus, is the most scientifically studied historical artifact in the world. Due to Mother Angelica's love for the Shroud, the first program that aired on EWTN Global Catholic Network was a documentary on the Shroud of Turin.
What really happened on the first Easter?
It is challenging to consider the pivotal event of Easter, Christ's Resurrection, from our human perspective.
Scientists have theorized that Christ rose in a burst of radiation that created the three dimensional image on the Shroud of Turin, which many believe to be Jesus' burial cloth. Scripture tells us that those closest to Jesus didn't immediately recognize Him in His glorified body. Jesus ate fish in front of the disciples to prove His physicality, even as He was able to enter the Upper Room by going through locked doors. His glorified body had new abilities, but He was not a disembodied ghost as some of the disciples feared.
For all the value of scientific inquiry and speculation, the meaning of Easter is far more real and personal than theoretical. Scripture is clear - Christ rose and since Christ rose, we too have the opportunity for eternal life. It is as simple, and as complex, as that.
- Fr. Joseph Mary Wolfe, MFVA
"The Cross had asked the questions; the Resurrection had answered them... The Cross had asked: 'Why does God permit evil and sin to nail Justice to a tree?' The Resurrection answered: 'That sin, having done its worst, might exhaust itself and this be overcome by Love that is stronger than either sin or death.'"
- Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen
"We must keep our eyes on the Risen Lord and our hearts will burn within us no matter what happens - for our God is risen. He is truly risen!"
- Mother Angelica
What is the Easter Octave?
This is the eight-day period from Easter Sunday through Divine Mercy Sunday. Each day in the octave is considered a feast day.
The disciples knew Jesus - Our Eucharistic Lord - through the breaking of the bread.
After Jesus rose from the dead on the first Easter, two disciples, unaware of His Resurrection, were traveling to the village of Emmaus. Jesus walked with them for the journey and explained the Holy Scriptures to them, but they didn't recognize Him. When they reached Emmaus, the two disciples invited Jesus to eat with them. As He broke the bread, they realized that it was Jesus. At that point, He vanished, and the two men said that they felt their hearts burn as He had spoken to them.
In the ninth century AD, the Patriarch Theophylactus said, "...the eyes of those who receive the Sacred Bread are opened that they should know Christ. For the Lord's Flesh has in it a great and ineffable power."
What is a doubting Thomas?
This is skeptic who refuses to believe something unless he or she has tangible proof.
In John 20:24-29, the apostle Thomas doubts that Jesus had risen from the dead. He was not present when Jesus had appeared to the other disciples, and he said, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in His side, I will not believe." More than a week later, Jesus appeared to all of them, including Thomas. When Jesus asked Thomas to place his hand in His wounds, Thomas fully believed that Jesus had indeed risen. He proclaimed, "My Lord and my God!"
Easter Lilies
Easter lilies, the flower most associated with this holy season, are symbols of purity and hope. Some have speculated that they symbolize the Resurrection of Jesus because they look like trumpets announcing that Jesus has risen from the dead.
"The Gospel of Easter is very clear: we need to go back there, to see Jesus risen, and to become witnesses of his Resurrection. This is not to go back in time; it is not a kind of nostalgia. It is returning to our first love, in order to receive the fire which Jesus has kindled in the world and to bring that fire to all people, to the very ends of the earth."
- Pope Francis
The Resurrection Was the Greatest Event in History
We know directly from Saint Paul that Greek philosophers thought the Resurrection was a curious absurdity. Politicians more pragmatically feared that it would upset the whole social order. One of the earliest Christian "apologists," or explainers, was Saint Justin Martyr who tried to persuade the emperor Antoninus Pius that Christianity is the fulfillment of the best intuitions of classical philosophers like Socrates and Plato.
"O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages."
- St. John Chrysostom