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The Easter Octave
by Maria Franco
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“The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore. Psalms 121:8

We are in the days of the Easter Octave, the eight days following the resurrection of our Lord. This is a time for rejoicing and marveling at the greatest accomplishment of the victory of life over death. This week also highlights the meetings of the Risen Lord with those who were closest to His heart.
As we all know, Mary Magdalene was the first to rush to the tomb of our Lord on early Sunday morning after the Sabbath, she was so eager to see the buried Lord and it was her love that could not wait for this moment so she set out at dawn. For her, Jesus was the highest priority at the moment and no other work could distract her at this time. But imagine her joy on being greeted with a different scene, the Lord himself alive and calling out to her. Her exceeding joy could not believe the miracle before her eyes. To be standing in front of the person whom she loved so much. She immediately clings to the Lord. Imagine this enlivening moment! A moment when the Lord stood tall over the world itself.
Sometimes in life we too go through many trials yet the Lord does not leave us in the dark tomb of despair, He brings us out into the open sunshine so that we also can stand in front of the ones we love having successfully survived against the odds and defeating the darkness of pain to witness a moment of rejoicing.

We later see how Jesus appears to his disciples on the famous walk to Emmaus. They however do not recognize His presence. They were all cut to the heart at that moment mourning for the crucified Lord but their sorrow soon turns into joy when they recognize Jesus in the breaking of bread.
Sometimes, the Lord appears to us in different forms, we may not recognize His presence in others, though we are definitely aware of His Risen presence in the Eucharist. Just as the Lord made as if to move on and continue on His way but decided to stay back with the disciples when they invited Him, He too awaits our invitation to let Him come into our hearts and be with us. He in turn has invited us to an eternal fellowship with Him.

Further on in the week, the Lord appears to the twelve apostles who were cloistered behind closed doors. His very presence strengthens their faith and builds their courage to go out into the Light. He appears once more to them with Thomas in their midst to dispel all his doubts. The marks of the wounds in His hands and side a witness to His own self.
In life, we too need the presence of the Lord and our loved ones to help us go out into the world boldly and fearlessly to preach the good news. As Samuel willing proclaimed to the Lord when He heard him call out to him in the deep of the night; “Here, I am. Speak Lord. I am listening.” An ever ready spirit to share the Word with others. His words that have become the word of our hearts.

Towards the end, Jesus appears to Peter and the other apostles on the shore of Galilee where He keeps a meal ready for them in symbolism of the eternal meal that we are to share with Him in Heaven. There is a double joy in the Lord preparing the meal with love and the disciples eating with relish what the Lord has prepared with His own hands.
We can also surmise though it has not been documented, a sure meeting of Our Lord with His beloved Mother who had stood by Him throughout His passion and death on the Cross.

Moments of any meeting are always elevating moments in life. It is a time when everything else comes to a stall and only the meaning of that moment matters. Our entire spirit settles deeply into the sensational feel of the moment. Our hearts want to express so much all at once. We are there for the moment and the moment is there for us. An important part of our life is being lived at that time. We overcome all other obstacles to be able to live this moment.

Similarly, the time after the resurrection of our Lord until His ascension and the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is a time of high importance because it prefigures our own fate at the end of time. That day when the Lord will call us by name just as He did to Mary on that Sunday morn and we will surely recognize His voice and presence. The Lord himself has said that His sheep recognize his voice, they know Him and He knows them. We too will cling to the Lord as Mary did in the best moment of our life and an eternal Easter meeting of hearts.

Maria Franco

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