The Parish Church of Saint MatthewBig Lamp ~ Newcastle
Eastertide is a period of fifty days, which runs from Easter Dayuntil the Day of Pentecost. It is the Church's season celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It actually starts in the evening of the Saturday before Easter Sunday at the Vigil and First Mass.Jesus' Resurrection was not a reversal out of death. Instead, by the power of His Sacrifice, He has, as it were, blasted through the dead end of mortality, opening a path from this life to reconciliation and reunion with God. During Eastertide we contemplate the hope that this Resurrection offers us.The first week of this period is called the Easter Octave(= a period of eight days), which is an intense period of celebration. It ends on the Sunday after Easter Sunday; this latter Sunday is often called Low Sunday.The Liturgy reflects this hope and joy in various ways - not least a liberal sprinkling of alleluias attached to the end of the various texts we sing and say. In church, the principal symbol of the Resurrection season is the Paschal Candle, consecrated at the Easter Vigil and lit at every Liturgy during Eastertide.Forty Days into Eastertide, we celebrate Ascension Daywhen we recall Christ's return to sit at the right hand of God: Jesus led the Eleven out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven.Luke 24: 50f see also Matt 28: 16ffTen days later, we celebrate the Day of Pentecost. This recalls the events recorded in the Book of Acts (2: 1 - 11) when the Holy Spirit was bestowed on the Apostles (see also John 20: 19 - 23). We traditionally understand this to mark the nexus between the incarnate Ministry of Jesus and the life of the earthly Church.