Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Easter Sunday—31 March A.D. 2013

[Ordinary of the Mass]
[ Mass Text-Latin]
[Mass Text-English]

This is the day that the Lord hath made,
let us be glad and rejoice in it.[1]

The Gospel read during the Easter vigil is substantially the same as that read on Sunday morning.  The first is taken from saint Matthew's account,[2] while the second is taken from Saint Mark.[3]  Luke[4] and John tell essentially the same story, although John alone goes on to relate that later that day, the Apostles were given the power to forgive sins.[5]  But, of the four, only Mark recounts that the holy women brought sweet smelling spices with which to anoint the body of our Lord.

    Pope Gregory the Great picks up on this detail, and informs us that this Gospel, more than a mere historical record is an example to be imitated.[6]  He tells us that we who believe in Jesus Christ must seek Him, “bringing with us the sweet odor of virtue, and the credit of good works.”   Our Catholic Faith is much more than a history lesson—it is a prescription for holiness.

    Pope Gregory continues: “the women who came bringing sweet spices beheld angels... those who come ... bearing the sweet spices of virtue, shall also see the citizens of heaven.”  Gregory asserts that angels are clothed in white robes, rejoicing because those angels who fell from grace by rebelling against God could now be replaced by the men and women freed from the sin of Adam.  Man, whom the psalmist tells us is “a little bit less than the angels,”[7] is made capable by the Resurrection, of actually replacing the angels as though he were an equal.  Easter is thus the time of angelic rejoicing, as well as for human rejoicing over our newfound opportunity for eternal life.

    The holy women who came to the tomb were “astonished”— one might think that they were terrified.  But the angel immediately told them not to be afraid.  Pope Gregory weaves some interesting symbolism into this as well.  He observes that the angel's face was like lightning, while his clothes we're like snow.  Lightning might terrify, but snow, he said, would indicate “the charm of purity.”  The very same angel would bring fear to the unrighteous, but would bring consolation to those who seek Christ.

    Again, Pope Saint Gregory tells us that this Gospel is proposed to us for our imitation.  If we are to be consoled over the troubles of life we must seek Christ as the holy women did, seeking to serve Him.    We must seek Him bearing "the perfume of good acts and holy desires."   We do well to recognize our newly found vocation—the vocation of becoming like the angels in heaven, so as to fill in the ranks left vacant by Lucifer and the rebellious angels.  Today we rejoice over the resurrection of our Lord and Savior from the dead—today we rejoice with the angels over our newly won opportunity for eternal life!

This is the day that the Lord hath made,
let us be glad and rejoice in it.


[6]   Pope Saint Gregory the Great, Homily xxi on the Gospels.

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