St. Martha Catholic Church Enfield Ct
Una Voce Enfield
[Easter is the Anglo- Saxon word for April, and was derived, as Venerable Bede tells us, (in his book De temporum ratione c. 13,) from Easter, a goddess of our pagan ancestors. Others derive Easter from Oest, Oost the Saxon for rising, or the east: and hence, Osteren, the Resurrection. Tr. from Butler’s Moveable Feasts.]
|HAEC DIES QUAM FECIT DOMINUS; EXSULTEMUS ET LAETEMUR IN EA!||THIS IS THE DAY WHICH THE LORD HATH MADE; LET US BE GLAD AND REJOICE THEREIN!|
As divine justice could not allow the Body that was united to the Word to see corruption, and there wait, like ours must, for the Archangel’s word to ‘rise and come to judgement,’ so neither could it permit the dominion of death to be long over such a Victim. Jesus had said to the Jews: ‘A wicked generation seeketh a sign; and a sign shall not be given it, but that of Jonas the prophet.’ [St. Matth. xii, 39]. Three days in the tomb, - the afternoon and night of Friday, the whole of Saturday, and a few hours of the Sunday, - yes, these are enough: enough to satisfy divine justice; enough to certify the death of the Crucified, and make His triumph glorious; enough to complete the martyrdom of that most loving of mothers, the Queen of sorrows.
‘No man taketh away my life from Me: I lay it down of Myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.’ [St. John, x, 18]. Thus spoke our Redeemer to the Jews before His Passion: now is the hour for the fulfilment of His words, and death shall feel their whole force. The day of light, Sunday, has begun, and its early dawn is struggling with the gloom. The Soul of Jesus immediately darts from the prison of limbo, followed by the whole multitude of the holy souls that are around Him. In the twinkling of an eye, it reaches and enters the sepulchre, and reunites itself with that Body, which, three days before, it had quitted amidst an agony of suffering. The sacred Body returns to life, raises itself up, and throws aside the winding-sheet, the spices, and the bands. The bruises have disappeared, the Blood has been brought back to the veins; and from these limbs that bad been torn by the scourging, from this head that had been mangled by the thorns, from these hands and feet that had been pierced with nails, there darts forth a dazzling light that fills the cave. The holy Angels had clustered round the stable and adored the Babe of Bethlehem; they are now around the sepulchre, adoring the conqueror of death. They take the shrouds, and reverently folding them up, place them on the slab, whereon the Body bad been laid by Joseph and Nicodemus.
But Jesus is not to tarry in the gloomy sepulchre. Quicker than a ray of light through a crystal, He passes through the stone that closes the entrance of the cave. Pilate had ordered his seal to be put upon this stone, and a guard of soldiers is there to see that no one touches it. Untouched it is, and unmoved; and yet Jesus is free! Thus, as the holy Fathers unanimously teach us, was it at His birth: He appeared to the gaze of Mary, without having offered the slightest violence to her maternal womb. The birth and the resurrection, the commencement and the end of Jesus’ mission, these two mysteries bear On them the seal of resemblance: in the first, it is a Virgin Mother; in the last, it is a sealed tomb giving forth its captive God.
And while this Jesus, this Man-God, thus breaks the sceptre of death, the stillness of the night is un disturbed. His and our victory has cost Him no effort. 0 death! where is now thy kingdom? Sin had made us thy slaves; thy victory was complete; and now, lo! thou thyself art defeated! Jesus, whom thou didst exultingly hold under thy law, has set
1 Apec. 1, 5. 2 I. Cor. xv, 26.
Himself free; and we, after thou hast domineered over us for a time, we too shall be free from thy grasp. The tomb thou makest for us, will become to us the source of a new life, for He that now conquers thee is ‘the First-born among the dead ; ~1 and to-day is the Pasch, the Passover, the deliverance, for Jesus and for us, His brethren. He has led the way; we shall follow; and the day will come, when thou, the enemy, that destroyest all things, shalt thyself be destroyed by immortality.2 Thy defeat dates from this moment of Jesus’ resurrection, and, with the great Apostle, we say to thee: ‘O death! where is thy victory? O death! where is thy sting ? ‘3
From The Liturgical Year Volume 7 Abbot Dom Prosper Gueranger