Thoughts from the Early Church
Commentary by Unknown Greek Author of the 5th Century
It is the end of Satan. (Mk: 14:22).
The signs of the Lord's resurrection are obvious: deception has ceased, envy has been banished, strife is despised. Peace is held in honor and war has been done away with. No longer do we reproach the Adam who was fashioned first; instead we glorify the second Adam. No longer do we reproach Eve for transgressing God's command: instead we bless Mary for being the Mother of God. No longer do we avert our eyes from the wood of the tree: instead we carry the Lord's cross.
We no longer fear the serpent: instead we revere the Holy Spirit. We no longer descend into the earth: instead we reascend into heaven. We are no longer exiles from paradise: instead we live in Abraham's bosom. We no longer hear, “I have made your day like night”: instead, inspired by the Holy Spirit, we sing: “This is the day which the Lord has made: let us keep it with gladness and rejoicing.”
Why should we do so? Because the sun is no longer darkened: instead everything is bathed in light. Because the veil of the temple is no longer rent: instead the Church is recognized. Because we no longer hold palm branches: instead we carry the newly enlightened.
This is the day which the Lord has made: let us keep it with gladness and rejoicing. This is the day, this and no other, for there is only onequeen, and not a throng of princesses. This is the day in the truestsense: the day of triumph, the day custom consecrates to the resurrection,the day on which we adorn ourselves with grace, the on which we partake of the spiritual Lamb. This is the day on which milk given to those born again, and on which God's plan for the poor is realized.
Let us keep it with gladness and rejoicing, not by running off to the taverns, but by hastening to the martyrs' shrines; not by esteeming drunkenness, but by loving temperance; not by dancing in the marketplace, but by singing psalms at home: This day is a day of resurrection, not of revelry. No one can ascend to heaven dancing; no one in a state of drunkenness can attend upon a king. Let none of us, therefore, dishonor this day.
This is the day on which Adam was set free, and Eve delivered from her affliction. It is the day on which cruel death shuddered, the strength of hard stones was shattered and destroyed, the bars of tombs were broken and set aside. It is the day on which the bodies of people long dead were restored to their former life, and the laws of the underworld, hitherto ever powerful and immutable, were repealed. It is the day on which the heavens were opened at the rising of Christ the Lord, and on which, for the good of the human race, the flourishing and fruitful tree of the resurrection sent forth branches all over the world, as if the world were a garden. It is the day on which the lilies of the newly enlightened sprang up, the streams that sustained sinners ran dry, the strength of the devil drained away, and demonic armies were scattered.
This, then, is the day which the Lord has made: let us keep it with gladness and rejoicing by the grace of Christ. By his resurrection he has illuminated the whole world, which was in darkness and in the shadow of death. May glory and adoration be given to him together with the Father and the Holy Spirit for endless ages. Amen.
Easter Homilies 51, 1-3: SC 187, 318-22
**From Saint Louis University