Octave of Easter

"Peace Be With You" — Part 1

Christ is risen! How does that make you feel?

On the third day after Jesus' death, his disciples were still full of despair at the loss of their teacher, master, and friend. They were worried that the authorities would arrest them, too. The first signs of the Resurrection confused and distressed them. Even when they saw the Risen Lord, they initially reacted with incomprehension or even fear. How did Jesus respond to this maelstrom of emotions?

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. — John 20:19-20

Jesus' first words to the terrified disciples are "Peace be with you," and his presence fills them with joy. The Risen Lord also invites us into that same peace and joy this Easter season.
Over the course of Lent and Holy Week, we engaged in spiritual warfare against the powers of darkness. Now that Christ has won the victory on the Cross and risen triumphant from the grave, we can enter into spiritual peace. But what kind of peace does the Risen Lord bring?

Christ's peace is multifaceted, and we'll explore a different aspect of it each week during Easter Time. However, the most obvious answer is that, by dying and rising again, Jesus defeated death and allows us to have peace in the face of death and hope in the coming resurrection. We'll dig into this facet of Christ's peace during the octave of Easter.
Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.

This collect prayer begins the Mass for Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Jesus is calling us to "take up battle against spiritual evils." We'll explore fasting itself in a few weeks; during the week of Ash Wednesday, we're going to dig into an important set of weapons the Lord gives us to fight evil: sacramentals.

What's a sacramental? Well, if you attend Mass on Ash Wednesday, you're probably going to receive one on your forehead.