(Extracts from the Saint Andrew Daily Missal for Easter Sunday)
Before all else, the Risen Christ offers the homage of His gratitude to His Father in Heaven (Introit). In her turn the Church gives thanks to God inasmuch as by the victory of His Son, He has reopened the way to Heaven, and implores Him to assist us that we may attain this, our final goal (Collect). For this, Saint Paul tells us, just as the Jews eat the Paschal Lamb with the unleavened bread, so we must feast on the Lamb of God, with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (Epistle and Communion), that is free from the leaven of sin.
“I arose, and am still with Thee, alleluia: Thy knowledge is become wonderful, alleluia, alleluia. Ps. Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known Me: Thou knowest my sitting down and my rising up. v. Glory be to the Father.” (Introit: Ps. cxxxviii 18, 5-6)
“O God, who on this day through Thine only-begotten Son hast overcome death and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; do Thou follow with Thine aid the desires which Thou dost put into our minds and by Thy continual help bring the same to good effect. Through the same Lord. (Collect).
“Brethren, purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new paste, as you are unleavened: for Christ our Pasch is sacrificed. Therefore let us feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (Epistle: 1 Cor. v. 7-8)
In the Gospel and the Offertory we read of the coming of the holy women to the sepulchre to embalm our Lord. They find an empty tomb but an angel proclaims to them the great mystery of the Resurrection. Let us joyfully keep this day on which our Lord has restored life to us in His own rising from the dead, and affirm with the Church that “the Lord is risen indeed”, and like Him, make our Easter a passing to an entirely new way of life.
“At that time, Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought sweet spices, that coming, they might anoint Jesus. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they come to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen. And they said one to another: Who shall roll us back the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And looking, they saw the stone rolled back. For it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed with a white robe: and they were astonished. Who saith to them: Be not affrighted; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he is risen, he is not here, behold the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee; there you shall see him, as he told you.” (Gospel: Mark xvi. 1-7)
“The action of the holy women,” says St. Gregory, “calls our attention to something which ought to be practised in Holy Church. We also shall truly come with precious perfumes to the Lord’s tomb if, fragrant with the odour of virtues, we seek Him bearing the recommendation of good works. The angel appeared clothed in a white robe because he had come to be the herald of the joy of our great feast and his. Shall we call it ours or his? Let us say rather, This celebration is his and ours.
For if the resurrection of our Redeemer has been our happiness, inasmuch as it has restored us to immortality, it has also brought joy to the angels, since it completes their number by calling us back to heaven. On this feast, the joy of which is common to him and to us, the angel appeared as if in white garments for our Lord’s resurrection, reopening to us the gate of heaven, and repairing the loss sustained by the heavenly fatherland.”
“The earth trembled and was still when God arose in judgment, alleluia.” (Offertory: Ps. lxxv 9-10)