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  • Writer's pictureAmy Trudell

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Let's Chat About...The True Meaning of Easter

Easter marks the Resurrection of Jesus 3 days after his death by Crucifixion. It is also the joyful end to the Lenten Season of fasting and penitence. In an earlier blog we took a close look at Lent and what it means during the Easter Season. It represents the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert resisting temptation before he entered the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

Palm Sunday marks the 1st day of Holy Week. It is when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a donkey and all of the people greeted him by waving palm branches. On Palm Sunday we receive palms at mass, and they are blessed. Then they are brought home and saved until just before Lent the next year. It is tradition to bring them back to the church to be burned and used at the Ash Wednesday service.

On Holy Monday Jesus was returning to Jerusalem from an overnight stay in Bethany when he passed by a Fig Tree displaying leaves, but no fruit and he cursed it. This is a lesson to all people who also falsely displayed righteousness.

"The Cleansing of the Temple" is when Jesus entered the temple and was angered by the sinful behavior that was going on there. He drove out all who were buying and selling market goods and he overturned tables saying, "It is written, my house will be a house of prayer".

On Holy Tuesday, Jesus continued to teach parables in the temple. Some of these included:

  • The Withering Fig Tree (Matthew 21: 20-23)

  • The Thief in the Night (Matthew 24: 42-44)

  • The Faithful and Unfaithful Stewards (Matthew 24: 41-45)

  • The Wise and Foolish Maiden (Matthew 25: 1-13)

  • The Rebuke of the Sadducees who deny the Resurrection (Mark 12: 18-23)

Later that day, Jesus left Jerusalem and went with his disciples to the Mount of Olives to pray.

On Holy Wednesday the Chief Priests and Scribes were plotting how to kill Jesus (John 11 45-57). Jesus and his disciples used this day to rest in Bethany in preparation of the Passover. It was on this day that Judus Iscariot betrayed him by making a deal with the chief priests to hand over Jesus in exchange for 30 pieces of silver. This day is also referred as "Spy Wednesday".

Holy Thursday is also called "Maundy Thursday". This was the day that Jesus and his disciples celebrated the Passover, a Jewish Holiday. The Last Supper was held that evening and during the meal, Jesus broke the bread and poured the wine declaring it as his body and blood. He also announced that Peter would deny him 3 times by the time the cock crows, and that one of the 12 apostles would betray him.

It was during the last supper when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. For Jesus, this was his display of humbleness and the forgiveness of sins. For us, it is a reminder to live a life of humility and repentance. Later that night they all went up to the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives to pray. He told Peter, James and John to keep watch while he prayed, but when he returned to them, they were all asleep.

Around midnight on the day of Good Friday, Jesus was arrested in the garden. Judas had led the soldiers to him by kissing his cheek. Upon his arrest, Peter drew his sword and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. Jesus commanded Peter to put his sword away and then he touched the servant's ear, healing him.

After betraying Jesus, Judas felt so much remorse that he tried returning the bag of money to the high priests, but they only laughed at him. With that, he threw the 30 silver coins into the temple and went away and hanged himself.

Jesus was then taken before the high court and charged with blasphemy. As Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, the Govenor of Judaea, he did not deny the charges against him. Peter was standing outside and was approached 3 times and accused of being one of the disciples. In fear he denied it and then he heard a rooster crow and remembered the predication Jesus had proclaimed and wept in shame.

Pilate then brought Jesus along with the convicted criminal, Barabbas, in front of the crowd of people who had gathered outside. He asked them which one he should release. The crowd chanted Barabbas. Pontius Pilate had no choice but to release Barabbas and convict Jesus.

The soldiers then took Jesus into the courtyard and stripped him of his clothing and draped a scarlet robe on him. Then they made a crown of thorns and placed it on his head while mocking "Hail, the King of the Jews". They continued to beat and abuse him and finally, they led him away to be crucified.

Along the way to Golgotha, the place he was to be crucified, the soldiers came across a man named Simon and forced him to carry the cross. Once they arrived, the soldiers offered him wine mixed with gall, but Jesus refused it. He was then nailed to the cross which he was to be hanged upon. Above his head they placed a sign which displayed the charge against him "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews".

From noon until 3:00 in the afternoon darkness came over the area. Around 3:00 pm Jesus cried out "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me". Shortly after he died, and an earthquake occurred. Then, all those around were afraid and believed that he was truly the Son of God. Among the many bystanders were Mary Magdalene and Jesus' Mother Mary.

As evening approached Jesus was taken down from the cross, wrapped in a clean linen cloth, and laid in a stone tomb.

Jesus descended into death and remained dead for this day. Holy Saturday is a suspended state between the period of Crucifixion and Resurrection. The Easter Vigil is celebrated in Mass on Holy Saturday evening. This includes lighting candles to symbolize Christ's passing from death into life.

Early Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and some of the apostles went to visit the tomb and found that Jesus' body was gone. Jesus was seen later that day by Mary and the disciples, and for 40 days afterwards by many other people. His followers realized that God had risen his only Son from the dead.

So, this Easter as you are celebrating with family and friends, please remember the True Meaning of Easter and that Jesus died to save us from our sins. If you have any thoughts to share on this topic, please comment below.

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