From Fasting to Feasting

Image: Jan van Eyck, Adoration of the Lamb

It’s Friday. A day that throughout most of the year is focused on penance and remembrance of the cross of Christ. But Easter Friday is Easter so we rejoice in the resurrection of Christ, one expression of which is that we can eat meat! (See Canon 1251) The seasons of fasting in the Church help us to focus intently on penance. Now Easter is here, and not only is it unnecessary to fast, but it is down right inappropriate. This is the situation of the Israelites after they rediscover the books of the Law upon returning from exile.

And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.’ For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, ‘Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:9-10)

It can be so easy for us to focus on the pains and penances of this life but forget about the joys and the blessings. Easter reminds us that the cross leads to the resurrection, and that we embrace the cross for the sake of the joy which lies before us. In some way, we are all as guilty of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as the Israelites were of abandoning the Law. Yet we should remember that Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:17). It can be hard to transition from the fasting of Lent to the feasting of Easter, but Easter is a time to marvel at the magnanimity of God and to accept with gratitude the unmerited gift He gives to us. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it! (Psalm 118:24) The Almighty God, our Father in heaven, has heard our prayer and answered us by sending His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has died and defeated death. Alleluia, Christ is risen! Let us rejoice, Alleluia!

Image: Jan van Eyck, Adoration of the Lamb

You May Also Enjoy:

The Eucharistic “Tiramisu” Roman culture is well-versed in the art of “lifting up” body and soul. As my friends and I experienced on our semester abroad, one is normally connected to the other. That is, if you did not treat cappuccino as a replacement for a “real” American breakfast, chase pranzo with a trip to the local espresso bar, or finish a late-night meal with tiramisu, many important higher intellectual and aesthetic discoveries simply would not have been possible!...
The Alleluia Yawn On the surface, one’s familiarity with the events of Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection can slowly compromise their power to captivate. I mean, did your mind happen to wander a bit during the lengthy proclamation of the Lord’s Passion on Palm Sunday? Or when it was proclaimed again on Good Friday? Did the marvellous account contained in the Easter Sunday Gospel—that one we’ve heard so many times before—totally register with us? Even if ...
The Empty Tomb The body dead, pronouncing despair and doom, Lying wrapped in linen in the cold tomb. A large stone in front, guarding the entranceway, Keeping the corpse secure through night and day. Heavy stone and heavier heart, such cruel fate.                                                    A sorrow so great. Soldiers guarding the tomb of the “impostor,” Lest the disciples tales of new life foster. The crying women return at break...
Queen of Heaven, Rejoice! Easter is a time of rejoicing. Not just on the day itself, or in the octave, but for all 50 days until Pentecost. This is longer than the 40 days of Lent, which is meant to prepare for Easter without surpassing it in length. Since we live in the light of the Resurrection as a present reality, it is only right that our season of rejoicing be longer than our season of penance. At the same time, our Christian road of discipleship usually feels cl...
Br. Bartholomew Calvano, O.P.

Written by:

Br. Bartholomew Calvano received a B.A. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry/Mathematics/Computer Science from Rutgers. He worked for two years with The Brotherhood of Hope, helping out with campus ministry at Northeastern University in Boston, before entering the Order of Preachers in 2015. On