Much as many people think and speak as though Christmas were “over and done” by the 26th of December, even though the Twelve Days of Christmas have barely begun at that point, so is it common to hear people refer to what they’re doing or going to do “after Easter,” by which they mean the days and weeks following Easter Sunday. I suppose we should be grateful to whatever extent the world around us is still aware of “Christmas” and “Easter” at all; and God grant that I not become a logomachian, quibbling over words when I know exactly what people really mean.
But I do want to “quibble” a bit about this expression, “after Easter,” for the sake of emphasizing the significance of our Lord’s Resurrection from the dead. The finished and accomplished fact of His atoning sacrificial death upon the Cross has changed everything; and that decisive difference is manifested already in His victorious bodily Resurrection, the Firstfruits of them that sleep. He has thus brought Life and Immortality to Light through His Gospel. That Life is forever, and that is the Truth which is truer – more sure and certain and absolute – than all the good, the bad, and the ugly that we see and touch and feel and experience in the fallen and perishing world.
To be sure, the Great Fifty Days of Easter have barely begun; indeed, we are even now within the Octave of the Resurrection of Our Lord. Liturgically speaking, in terms of the Church Year, “Easter” is a festival Season that culminates in the Feast of Pentecost (which is then extended by its Octave to the Feast of the Holy Trinity). It is truly meet, right, and salutary that we should spend as much time reveling in the Resurrection as we have invested in the penitence of Lent. But, yes, the seasons of the Church on earth run their course, serve their purpose, and conclude. So, from that perspective, come June we can speak about what happens “after Easter.”
But the real Easter – that is, the neverending Day of our Lord’s Resurrection, already realized in His own glorious Body – there is nothing “after” that. Established in Him, it is permanent for us, forever and always, eternal in the heavens but so also given and poured out for us here on earth. Though we are dust, and to dust we shall return, He is our Anchor behind the Veil, tethering us to Himself by the waters of Holy Baptism, and by the Feast of His own Body and Blood, so that, even though we die, yet shall we live in body and soul, glorious like unto His glorious Body. He strengthens and sustains us unto that everlasting Life by the power of His own indestructible Life (Hebrews 7:16). Thus do we await the Day of the Resurrection of all Flesh in peace and hope.
For now there is still night and day, evening and morning, sunset and dawning; there is still sin and death, which we experience in our flesh and in our loved ones. But that Day is coming – and in Christ Jesus it has already come – when there shall be no more night, no more darkness, only the Light of Christ our Savior. And we rest ourselves in that eternal Day, already now by faith, in the Liturgy of the Gospel. Which is why every Sunday, even in the midst of Advent and Lent, is the Lord’s Day, a “little Easter,” which remembers and rejoices in His glorious Resurrection.