Easter Monday Prayers
Scripture Readings for Today (1962 Propers of the Mass):
LESSON Acts 10:37-43
In those days, Peter, standing in the midst of the people, said, "You know the word which hath been published through all Judea: for it began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached. Jesus of Nazareth: how God anointed him with the Holy Ghost and with power, who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things that he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem: whom they killed, hanging him upon a tree. Him God raised up the third day and gave him to be made manifest, Not to all the people, but to witnesses preordained by God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him, after he arose again from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that it is he who was appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead. To him all the prophets give testimony, that by his name all receive remission of sins, who believe in him."
GRADUAL Ps. 117:24, 2
This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.
V. Let Israel proclaim now that the Lord is good, that His mercy endures forever.
V. An angel of the Lord came down from heaven, and drawing near, rolled back the stone, and sat on it.
May you praise the Paschal Victim,
immolated for Christians.
The Lamb redeemed the sheep:
Christ, the innocent one,
has reconciled sinners to the Father.
A wonderful duel to behold,
as death and life struggle:
The Prince of life dead,
now reigns alive.
Tell us, Mary Magdalen,
what did you see in the way?
"I saw the sepulchre of the living Christ,
and I saw the glory of the Resurrected one:
The Angelic witnesses,
the winding cloth, and His garments.
The risen Christ is my hope:
He will go before His own into Galilee."
We know Christ to have risen
truly from the dead:
And thou, victorious King,
have mercy on us.
GOSPEL Luke 24:13-35
At that time, two of the disciples of Jesus went, the same day, to a town which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass that while they talked and reasoned with themselves, Jesus himself also, drawing near, went with them. But their eyes were held, that they should not know him. And he said to them: "What are these discourses that you hold one with another as you walk and are sad?" And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, said to him: "Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things that have been done there in these days?" To whom he said: "What things?" And they said: "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in work and word before God and all the people. And how our chief priests and princes delivered him to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we hoped that it was he that should have redeemed Israel. And now besides all this, to-day is the third day since these things were done. Yea and certain women also of our company affrighted us who, before it was light, were at the sepulchre, And not finding his body, came, saying that they had all seen a vision of angels, who say that he is alive. And some of our people went to the sepulchre and found it so as the women had said: but him they found not." Then he said to them: "O foolish and slow of heart to believe in all things, Which the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and so, to enter into his glory?" And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures the things that were concerning him.
And they drew nigh to the town whither they were going: and he made as though he would go farther. But they constrained him, saying: "Stay with us, because it is towards evening and the day is now far spent." And he went in with them.
And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread and blessed and brake and gave to them. And their eyes were opened: and they knew him. And he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to the other: "Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in the way and opened to us the scriptures?"
And rising up, the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem: and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were with them, Saying: "The Lord is risen indeed and hath appeared to Simon." And they told what things were done in the way: and how they knew him in the breaking of bread.
Today the Church continues the celebration of Easter since today is Easter Monday. Easter, the feast of all feasts in the Church, is celebrated especially throughout its Octave. An Octave involves 8 days to remember a specific event. Christmas, Easter, Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, etc have Octaves.
What is truly profound is that Jesus Christ really and physically rose from the dead! It is a historical event. Not just His soul rose, but also He bodily rose from the dead after dying on the Cross and descending into Hell. As I read in "The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ", our Lord, at the instance of His death on the Cross, descended to the Limbo of the Fathers, Purgatory, and Hell. In the Limbo of the Fathers, He preached to the patriarchs, prophets, and holy people that had died before Heaven was opened by His death (1 Peter 4:6). Included among these people was Adam and Eve. What many people are not taught is that the exact place of Jesus's Crucifixion on Mt. Calvary is exactly above the spot where the first Adam was interred. The Body of the New Adam (Jesus) covered that of the Old Adam! Jesus also went to Purgatory and gazed upon Hell. According to "The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ," Jesus talked with Judas, who was in Hell.
According to the previously mentioned book, Jesus also commanded nearly 100 of the holy people in the Limbo of the Fathers to re-enter their bodies temporarily. He then commanded them to visit their relatives and preach the truth - that Jesus Christ was the salvation of the world. With the darkness and earthquakes too, many people were converted and believed after the Crucifixion. All of this took place roughly 1 hour after Jesus died on the Cross. Yet, the patriarchs, prophets, etc in their bodies did not look like Jesus's glorified bodies. They merely re-entered their bodies temporarily to fulfill the command of Jesus. Afterwards, their souls again left their bodies. On that day, the Limbo of the Fathers was forever closed. Heaven was opened by the death and Resurrection of Jesus (CCC 1026).
Concerning Jesus, Scripture attests, "He is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep" (1 Cor. 15:12). With His glorified Body, He is no longer bound by the limitations of time, space, or physics. As we believe as part of the Faith also, Mother Mary was assumed body and soul into Heaven. They remain the only two people to have a glorified body. But we too shall follow! That is our hope! The very same Body we have now will be raised again at Judgment. For we, unlike Mary (see: Immaculate Conception) and Jesus, are sinners, so our Resurrection is yet to come. At the time of Judgment, all people will be united with their bodies. At that time, the prophets, patriarchs, saints, etc will all received a glorified body.
Today let us meditate on Jesus's physical Resurrection as well as His descent into Hell.
638 "We bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this day he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus."489 The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery along with the cross:
Christ is risen from the dead!
Dying, he conquered death;
To the dead, he has given life. 490
639 The mystery of Christ's resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness. In about A.D. 56 St. Paul could already write to the Corinthians: "I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. . ."491 The Apostle speaks here of the living tradition of the Resurrection which he had learned after his conversion at the gates of Damascus. 492
489 Acts 13:32-33.
490 Byzantine Liturgy, Troparion of Easter.
491 1 Cor 15:3-4.
492 Cf. Acts 9:3-18.