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VOLUME XXVIII No. 41
Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines
April 20, 2014 issue
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Behold! Christ is risen!

 

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6 "He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7 "Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you."

Sounds familiar? If so, it's because it was the gist in today's gospel of Matthew 28:1-10.

Today Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. It is typically the most well-attended Sunday service of the year for Christian churches. At the St. Joseph Cathedral , at least five Easter masses marked the celebration of the risen Christ. The centerpiece of today's masses is at 9:00 AM presided over Msgr. Jeffrey Malanog, vicar-general of the diocese of Tagbilaran. In the towns, Easter masses are also held in the morning including in churches destroyed and damaged by the October 15 7.2 magnitude earthquake. Christians believe, according to Scripture, that Jesus came back to life, or was raised from the dead, three days after his death on the cross. As part of the Easter season, the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion is commemorated on Good Friday, always the Friday just before Easter. Through his death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus paid the penalty for sin, thus purchasing for all who believe in him, eternal life in Christ Jesus.

In Western Christianity, Easter marks the end of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline in preparation for Easter. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. Eastern Orthodox churches observe Lent or Great Lent, during the 6 weeks or 40 days preceding Palm Sunday with fasting continuing during the Holy Week of Easter. Lent for Eastern Orthodox churches begins on Monday and Ash Wednesday is not observed. Because of Easter's pagan origins, and also because of the commercialization of Easter, many Christian churches choose to refer to the holiday as Resurrection Day. The biblical account of Jesus' death on the cross, or crucifixion, his burial and his resurrection, or raising from the dead, can be found in the following passages of Scripture: Matthew 27:27-28:8; Mark 15:16-16:19; Luke 23:26-24:35; and John 19:16-20:30. In Western Christianity, Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal Full Moon. I had previously, and somewhat erroneously stated, "Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the first full moon after the vernal (spring) equinox." This statement was true prior to 325 AD; however, over the course of history (beginning in 325 AD with the Council of Nicea), the Western Church decided to established a more standardized system for determining the date of Easter.

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