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From Wikipedia,( the free encyclopedia)
Depiction of the resurrection of Jesus
by Bernhard Plockhorst, 19th century
Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus
Easter] (also called the Pasch or Pascha is a Christian festival and holiday
celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion
at Calvary as described in the New Testament.
Easter is the culmination of the Passion of Christ,
preceded by Lent,
a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
The last week of Lent is called Holy Week,
and it contains the days of the Easter Triduum,
including Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday),
commemorating the Last Supper and its preceding foot washing,
as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus.
Easter is followed by a fifty-day period called Eastertide,
or the Easter Season, ending with Pentecost Sunday.
Easter is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation
to the civil calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325)
established the date of Easter as the first Sunday
after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon)
following the March equinox. Ecclesiastically,
the equinox is reckoned to be on 21 March (even though the equinox occurs,
astronomically speaking, on 20 March in most years), and the "Full Moon"
is not necessarily the astronomically correct date. The date of Easter
therefore varies between 22 March and 25 April.
Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian calendar,
whose 21 March corresponds, during the 21st Century,
to 3 April in the Gregorian calendar, in which the celebration
of Easter therefore varies between 4 April and 8 May.
Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism,
as well as by its position in the calendar. In many languages,
the words for "Easter" and "Passover" are etymologically related
or homonymous. Easter customs vary across the Christian world,
but attending sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting,
clipping the church and decorating Easter eggs,
a symbol of the empty tomb, are common motifs.
Additional customs include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and Easter parades,
which are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians...
RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST...
SOURCE:'EXCERPTS FROM THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA'
`Resurrection is the rising again from the dead, the resumption of life.
In this article, we shall treat only of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
(The General Resurrection of the Body will be covered in another article.)
The fact of Christ's Resurrection, the theories opposed to this fact,
Its characteristics, and the reasons for its importance
must be considered in distinct paragraphs.
The Fact of Christ's Resurrection...
The main sources which directly attest the fact
of Christ's Resurrection are the Four Gospels and the Epistles
of St. Paul. Easter morning is so rich in incident,
and so crowded with interested persons, that its complete history
presents a rather complicated tableau.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the partial accounts contained in
each of the Four Gospels appear at first sight hard to harmonize.
But whatever exegetic view as to the visit to the sepulchre by the
pious women and the appearance of the angels we may defend,
we cannot deny the Evangelists' agreement as to the fact that the
risen Christ appeared to one or more persons. According to St. Matthew,
He appeared to the holy women, and again on a mountain in Galilee;
according to St. Mark, He was seen by Mary Magdalen, by the two disciples
at Emmaus, and the Eleven before his Ascension into heaven;
according to St. Luke, He walked with the disciples to Emmaus, appeared
to Peter and to the assembled disciples in Jerusalem;
according to St. John, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalen, to the ten Apostles
on Easter Sunday, to the Eleven a week later, and to the seven disciples
at the Sea of Tiberias. St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:3-8) enumerates
another series of apparitions of Jesus after His Resurrection;
he was seen by Cephas, by the Eleven, by more than 500 brethren, many of whom
were still alive at the time of the Apostle's writing, by James,
by all the Apostles, and lastly by Paul himself.
Here is an outline of a possible harmony of the Evangelists' account
concerning the principal events of Easter Sunday:
•The holy women carrying the spices previously prepared start out
for the sepulchre before dawn, and reach it after sunrise; they are
anxious about the heavy stone, but know nothing of the official guard
of the sepulchre (Matthew 28:1-3; Mark 16:1-3; Luke 24:1; John 20:1).
•The angel frightened the guards by his brightness, put them to flight,
rolled away the stone, and seated himself not upon (ep autou),
but above (epano autou) the stone (Matthew 28:2-4).
•Mary Magdalen, Mary the Mother of James, and Salome approach the sepulchre,
and see the stone rolled back, whereupon Mary Magdalen immediately returns to
inform the Apostles (Mark 16:4; Luke 24:2; John 20:1-2).
•The other two holy women enter the sepulchre, find an angel seated in the
vestibule, who shows them the empty sepulchre, announces the Resurrection, and
commissions them to tell the disciples and Peter that they shall see Jesus
in Galilee (Matthew 28:5-7; Mark 16:5-7).
•A second group of holy women, consisting of Joanna and her companions,
arrive at the sepulchre, where they have probably agreed to meet the first group,
enter the empty interior, and are admonished by two angels that
Jesus has risen according to His prediction (Luke 24:10).
•Not long after, Peter and John, who were notified by Mary Magdalen,
arrive at the sepulchre and find the linen cloth in such a position as to
exclude the supposition that the body was stolen; for they lay simply flat
on the ground, showing that the sacred body had vanished out of them
without touching them. When John notices this he believes (John 20:3-10)
•Mary Magdalen returns to the sepulchre, sees first two angels within,
and then Jesus Himself (John 20:11-16; Mark 16:9).
•The two groups of pious women, who probably met on their return to the city,
are favored with the sight of Christ arisen, who commissions them to tell
His brethren that they will see him in Galilee (Matthew 28:8-10; Mark 16:8).
•The holy women relate their experiences to the Apostles, but find no belief
(Mark 16:10-11; Luke 24:9-11).
•Jesus appears to the disciples, at Emmaus, and they return to Jerusalem;
the Apostles appear to waver between doubt and belief (Mark 16:12-13;
•Christ appears to Peter, and therefore Peter and John firmly believe in the
Resurrection (Luke 24:34; John 20:8).
•After the return of the disciples from Emmaus, Jesus appears to all the Apostles
excepting Thomas (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25).
The harmony of the other apparitions of Christ after His Resurrection
presents no special difficulties.
Briefly, therefore, the fact of Christ's Resurrection is attested by more
than 500 eyewitnesses, whose experience, simplicity, and uprightness of life
rendered them incapable of inventing such a fable,
who lived at a time when any attempt to deceive could have been easily discovered,
who had nothing in this life to gain, but everything to lose by their testimony,
whose moral courage exhibited in their apostolic life can be explained only by
their intimate conviction of the objective truth of their message.
Again the fact of Christ's Resurrection is attested by the eloquent
silence of the Synagogue which had done everything to prevent deception,
which could have easily discovered deception, if there had been any,
which opposed only sleeping witnesses to the testimony of the Apostles,
which did not punish the alleged carelessness of the official guard, and
which could not answer the testimony of the Apostles except by threatening
them "that they speak no more in this name to any man" (Acts 4:17).
Finally the thousands and millions, both Jews and Gentiles, who believed
the testimony of the Apostles in spite of all the disadvantages following
from such a belief, in short the origin of the Church,
requires for its explanation the reality of Christ's Resurrection,
for the rise of the Church without the Resurrection would have been
a greater miracle than the Resurrection itself.
~ ~ ~`+`~ ~ ~
`I am but a star in the heavens above
guiding over you in God's eternal love
I once was a soul like you on earth now
a heavenly star in miracle of rebirth!