The wonder and joy of Easter cannot be contained in one day, it must spill out into many
days of celebration! The Church shows us just how important and central to our faith this feast is, by mandating a full Octave (from the Latin word octava, eight) of celebration. Christmas is the only other feast that does so. Eight days of celebrating!
Those of us who pray the Divine office pray the same psalms of Easter Sunday for eight days to underscore this wonderful truth.
As our brothers and sisters in the Jewish faith celebrate the Feast of Passover for seven days, as commanded by God to Moses in Exodus, we as Christians, can do no less on this solemn sacred Feast of Easter, and in fact,we take it one step further, one day further.
The Church Fathers speak of the number seven as the ‘total of temporal existence’. The great Saint Augustine speaks of the eighth day of the octave as ‘taking us out of time and into eternity’. Jesus leads us into that eternity, into that eternal light. Each day gives us the opportunity to live with our Lord in that eternal reality, being in the world, but not of it. As Adam was pulled from his prison of darkness into the light by the very Author of Light, the New Adam, we too are freed to walk in that Light of truth and grace, we can live in that eternal reality in a very authentic way, each and every day.
As the Octave takes us into rest of the fifty days of this Easter season, let us really rejoice in the true knowledge of a very real hope, the hope and joy only Jesus can bring!