This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it, alleluia.
For these eight days, this is the response we say in the Divine Office. During Mass each day, we recite the Gloria and “alleluia” is added to the dismissal and the people’s response. Each day is classified as a solemnity, the highest kind of feast day. Why? And why does the Octave of Christmas not have the same classification? Simply put, Jesus Christ has now fully manifested His glory and has accomplished the fullness of His purpose for becoming man. Certainly, the feast of Christmas is extremely important and it is nothing short of incredible that God took on our human flesh and became like us in every way but sin. Jesus obviously had to be born first in order for the course of the events of our salvation to unfold. But it was not the culmination of everything that He was sent here for. The Incarnation alone could not save us. Christ had to suffer and die and rise again in order for our redemption to be accomplished and that is what the great feast of Easter celebrates and why it is the greatest feast, surpassing even Christmas. Our Savior has opened the gates of heaven for us. Now it is our turn to finish achieving our salvation by following the commandments and striving to become more and more like Jesus in our everyday lives.
So rejoice and take heart! Christ has destroyed death and His triumph has merited this celebration of Easter Sunday for eight days. He has truly risen, alleluia!
A few more notes on the Easter Octave:
- If you still keep meatless Fridays year round (which you should), you are exempt from this requirement this Friday since it is in the octave and every day is a solemnity. The Octave of Christmas does not have the same classification so you are not excused on that Friday.
- The Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary are prayed every day during the octave.
- If you say the Divine Office, the Office for the Dead is prohibited during the octave. Masses for the Dead are also prohibited during this time, unless it is an actual funeral Mass where the body is present.
- This should go without saying, but a great feast is not an excuse for gluttony. Please feast responsibly.