Easter Sunday and the First Week of Easter

ANGELICO, Resurrection of Christ and Women at the Tomb (1440-42), Fresco, Convento di San Marco, Florence

SUNDAY 16th April – Easter Sunday

As Mass starts, Father Anselm leads the wonderful anthem:
“Salve, festa dies, toto venerabilis aevo, qua deus infernum vicit et astra tenet”.

It seems a suitable full-stop to the magnificent liturgy of these four days.

The only sadness is that the retreat is over for another year.

MONDAY 17th April – Easter Monday

I always love going to the Cathedral the day after Easter Sunday to see the Cathedral bedecked with lilies and the readings this week are the most important of the year. They are the witness to the Resurrection and Christianity without the Resurrection is nothing.

“Do not be afraid: go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there”
Matthew 28:8-15.

TUESDAY 18th April – Easter Tuesday

All hell breaks loose with the PM’s announcement that there is to be a General Election on June 8th. So, we will spend the month of May in Lincolnshire. Obviously, I welcome a chance to increase our majority.

I take the opportunity in Foreign Office Questions to raise the slaughter of Shi’a civilians at Foah and Kefraya.

The wonderful Easter readings continue. All our faith is based on these few hundred words of the testimony of a handful of people. The whole thing looks sincere and I can’t help believing it but it is few words to hang the universe on, although the words are compelling.

“As she said this she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognise him … Jesus said ‘Mary’. She knew him then”
John 20:11-18.

WESNESDAY 19th April – Easter Wednesday

I put a question to the PM in which I describe the Fixed Term Parliaments Act as an Emperor without clothes. We duly vote to abrogate the Bill and have an early General Election.

It is clearly in the national interest to have an election when it is in the national interest to have one.

Today we have the wonderful story of the disciples walking with the Lord to Emmaus:
“… he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him”
Luke 24:13-35.

For all the fragility of the evidence, our eyes too can open at such a moment.

THURSDAY 20th April – Easter Thursday

A rare event: I have two questions on the order paper to the DEFRA Secretary and answer two as Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission – an eclectic mixture of Lincolnshire coastal defences and the PAC work on cancer drugs.

I take the train up to Lincolnshire but before I do there is time to go to another Easter Week Mass.

“… They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’”
Luke 24:35-48.

FRIDAY 21st April – Easter Friday

I am at a meeting to discuss the listing of the village hall – a former Methodist Tin Chapel. We know nothing about the people who worshiped there but their life in this remote spot must have been very simple.

There is no Mass at Caistor tonight so I wander around the parish church and find an extraordinary object – a fragment of a wall made up of cement and the bones of martyred Christians; nothing changes.

Today is John 21:1-14
“Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberius – the third time Jesus showed himself to the disciples”.

SATURDAY 22nd April – Easter Saturday

It is sad that these wonderful weekday readings are coming to an end but in the Mass at Market Rasen they do so in summation:

Mark 16
“Having risen in the morning on the first day of the week, Jesus appeared first to Mary of Magdala …”.