Monday, April 9, 2007
Monday in the Octave of Easter

"He is not here. He has risen" (Luke 24:6)

Easter Monday as a Holy Day of Obligation

When writing about the rank of days in the Catholic Liturgical calendar, there are various ways to label them. In the modern Church, they will use the terms solemnity, feast, memorial, or optional memorial. In the 1962 Missal, we have First, Second, Third, or Fourth Class feastdays. But before the 1962 Missal up until the changes made by Pope Pius XII in 1955, there were from least to most important: Simples, Semidoubles, Lesser Doubles or also known as Doubles, Greater Doubles, Doubles of the second class, and lastly Doubles of the first class.

Using the traditional pre-1955 calendar, we notice something very interesting about Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday. Easter Monday and Tuesday are doubles of the first class whereas the rest of the Easter Octave is a semi-double.  Even with the variation in rank, the Easter Octave is privileged and no other feastday may occur in the Octave. But what's unique about Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday is that no other saints are commemorated those days in the Mass or the Divine Office.

Why the special treatment for Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday? It is because they were universal holy days of obligation for a very long time. Easter Tuesday was not dropped from the list until 1777; Easter Monday was dropped from the universal list at the beginning of the 20th century but is still a Holy Day of Obligation in many places to this very day. In Catholic European countries, it is still common to have Easter Monday off as a paid holiday.

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.

Alleluia, alleluia!
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.
Amen. Alleluia.

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 is the seven days following a feast with the feast day itself included. They are all part of the same liturgical celebration that extends over the course of these days. 

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. 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 were 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 the Hell of the Damned, though our Lord did not enter into the Hell of the Damned.

According to the same private revelations, Jesus also commanded nearly one hundred 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 one 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. Afterward, their souls again left their bodies. They would remain in this temporary holding period until our Lord entered into Heaven on Ascension Day and opened the gates of Heaven. On that day, the Limbo of the Fathers was closed.

Note: The Limbo of the Fathers is not to be confused with the Limbo of the Infants

Concerning Jesus, Scripture attests, "He is the first fruits 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 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. And let us also pray the Regina Coeli.

1 comment(s):

del_button April 9, 2007 at 8:43 PM
FloridaWife said...

This is all very interesting. Thank you, MB.

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