The Easter season is a seven week period beginning with the Easter vigil and concluding on the feast of Pentecost. In most Catholic parishes, First Communion for Children is a major event, but the season has a larger purpose. All Christians are called to renew their faith in the Risen Christ.
“Blessed are they who have not seen, but believe,” Jesus says in John’s gospel to his Apostle Thomas, on the 2nd Sunday of Easter. Doesn’t that mean there’s a blessing promised to us? For the next seven weeks I’ll put up material for the Easter season on this blog.
We don’t see Jesus as his apostles and other eye-witnesses did, but we’re blessed with faith, a way of knowing him through sacraments and signs and, most importantly, through the love we have for one another. We need to keep our eyes on the witness of his disciples in the scriptures and the prayers of the church. We need to meet the Risen Christ in his sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist.
Our faith, like the disciple Thomas’ faith, needs strengthening, because the world we live in keeps questioning this way of knowing . Like infants we’re learning about what we don’t yet know, and so many other things are on our mind. The Easter season offers grace to us.
A good way to pray during the Easter season is to follow the readings each day for the Eucharist. The Sunday readings for the season are the most important; the weekday readings are closely related to them. You can find them online at the US Bishops’ site , which also provides the text of The New American Bible, as well as commentary and general background material on the bible. Here’s a list of this week’s readings for Mass for cycle C.
Weekday Readings: Octave of Easter
Monday: Acts 2:14,22-23; Matthew 28,8-15
Tuesday: Acts 2, 36-41; John 20,11-18
Wednesday: Acts 3,1-19; Luke 24, 13-35
Thursday: Acts 3,11-36 Luke 24, 35-48
Friday Acts 4,1-12 John 21,1-14
Saturday Acts 4, 13-21 Mark 16,9-15
The weekday readings at Mass for the next 7 weeks of the Easter season come mainly from the Acts of the Apostles and the gospel of John. You can read the introductions and commentaries to these books in the New American Bible, available at the US Bishops’ site.
The Acts of the Apostles, the second part of St. Luke’s work, is important reading in the Easter season. It describes how God’s promise of salvation to Israel, accomplished in Jesus, was brought to the Gentile world under the guidance of the Holy Sprit. Acts describes the beginnings of our church and, just as importantly, offers insight into how our church develops today.
From its Jewish Christian origins in Jerusalem the church gradually incorporated the gentiles, non-Jews, and steadily spread throughout the Roman world, eventually reaching Rome itself, the capital of the civilized world. The church today is growing globally. Its early growth described in the Acts of the Apostles can help us understand how it will grow in our time.
The gospel readings for this coming week from all four gospels describe the resurrection appearances of Jesus to his disciples. They express utter amazement at meeting Jesus risen from the dead. They can raise amazement in us as we read them this season.