The Roman Caller Presents: Easter Rising & Resurrection Sunday.  Index 

W inter is now easing and we are preparing to enter the season of Lent in preparation of our celebration of Easter as the Highest Feast in the Church Calendar. How did we get here and what do we really know about Easter which represents the foundational underpinning for our entire belief system in Christianity?


For without Easter Jesus would have been considered a healer, physician, sage, teacher, rabbi and even great prophet but not the Son of God. Many common criminals, insurgents and anarchists were crucified by the Romans. So what set his death apart from the faceless legions of innocent and guilty alike condemned to such a brutal form of capital punishment?


The answer was found by those witnesses arriving at an empty tomb. What we do know from the Synoptic Gospels Mark, Matthew and Luke considered the first three Gospels and referred to synoptic because they are so similar in structure, content and wording that that they can easily be set side by side to provide substantive commonalities by and between their writings. [1] We could also say that The Synoptic Gospels share many of the same stories, often in similar sequence and in similar wording [3]


The Gospel of John written later has a different arrangement and offers a somewhat different perspective on Jesus [2] So who did each of the authors of the four {4} Gospels specify arrived at the tomb first? Women! Really! Yes Women, Really! [4] Why is this significant? Because in Palestinian Judaism women were not normally accepted as witnesses in matters regarding Jewish law [7] including during the life of Jesus {5BC –AD33} [5] The Testimony of Women in Judaism then like the testimony of Women in Islam today; whose testimony is tempered and must be doubled in most cases i.e. two women v. one man} [6] was not to be trusted.


So why did the authors of the Gospels each and everyone represent women as the first witnesses to the resurrection when they arrived on the first day of the week to anoint the body? Because it was true!


Why would the authors deviate from their traditions of patriarchy since the birth of Judaism a religion that gave us monotheism, concept of rule by law; it gave us the concept that the divine works its purpose on human history through human events; it gave us the concept of the covenant; that the one God has a special relationship to a community of humans above all others. In the West, in the Middle East, in most of Africa and Asia the legacy of Hebrew religion permeates nearly everything we see. This God is anthropomorphic: He has human qualities and whether this God anthropomorphic or not is conceived as operating above and outside nature and the human world. [8]


So on this first day of the week so many years ago women were the first to witness the Resurrection though they didn’t know what had transpired through the grace of Almighty G-d and the authors in writing of these events told the truth risking the alienation of many otherwise true believers and upheaval if you will of the social order of the day, that prohibited the testimony of women possibly and precisely, so that we might believe in the resurrection then and now two thousand years hence.


Were the authors in their conveyances that all people are equal in the sight of God whether male, female, slave or free so insightful in their efforts to grow their discipleship that they threw the doors open or did the message permeate through all of society of the truth as taught by Jesus and their souls ached in joy of hearing the truth knowing that no matter what their earthly status or burden that their Heavenly Father loved them and sent his only Son Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to empty himself of divinity accepting his humanity to suffer great agony and die for their and our sins.


Even today many persons here in America a country rich in Judeo Christian Heritage remain unable to comprehend such a perfect sacrificial offering and everlasting gift for each of us as if we were the only person ever created.


This is why with some frequency we are exposed to the absurdity of the talking heads on television and even from our own President Obama who routinely misrepresents Christians and Christianity, the sacredness of our faith as Christians including collective outreach of building and maintaining churches, hospitals, schools, shelters, food banks, social services, Priests and Religious in formation and support of missionaries traveling the world proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. A sign posted above the doorway in the office of an order of Dominican Sisters in Phoenix, Arizona read: “Teach the Gospel each day and when absolutely necessary use words.”


 In the rooms of addiction recovery such dismissive commentary proffered by critics of Christianity is referred to as contempt prior to investigation. It has also been stated: “It’s not that Christianity has been tried and found easy; it has been left untried and found most difficult.” [9]


In the second sentence of this article the question was asked; how did we get here?  We know that though early Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire it remained relatively unseen in public due to suppression by both Jewish and Roman Authorities including the threat of harassment, arrest, loss of livelihood,  intermittent persecutions and death


Then the Roman Emperor Constantine, who was exposed to Christianity by his Mother Helena, declared himself a Christian at the age of {42} forty-two. Writing to Christians, Constantine made clear that he believed his successes were owed to the protection of that High God alone.


Constantine the Great experienced a dramatic event in 312 at the Battle of Milvian Bridge where he looked up to the sun before battle and saw a cross of light above it with the word in Greek- translated to English as: “You will conquer.” Constantine ordered his troops to adorn their shields with the Christian symbol and ultimately they were victorious. [10]


Thereafter the decision of Constantine to cease the persecutions of Christians was a turning point in early Christianity, sometimes referred to as the Triumph of the Church. Constantine and Licinius issued the Edit of Milan decriminalizing Christian worship.


Constantine became a patron of the faith, supporting it financially, building an extraordinary number of Basilicas, granting privileges to clergy including tax exempt status, promoting Christians to high ranking offices, returning confiscated properties and endowed the Church with land and other wealth. Crucifixion was abolished for reasons of Christian piety. [11]


On March 7, 321, Sunday, the Day of the Sun was declared an official day of rest and on this day markets were banned and public offices were closed except for the purpose of freeing slaves. Christians reacted to this by moving their Sabbath from the traditional Jewish day to Sunday. [12]  


Constantine Augustus wrote to the churches: “The great grace of God’s power has constantly been increasing, as is evident in the general prosperity of the empire. I therefore decided to make it my aim above all else that one faith, sincere love, and unvarying devotion to Almighty God be maintained among the most blessed assemblies of the catholic church.” [13]


A great council was convened by Constantine who wrote… “we also considered the issue of our Holiest day, Easter, and it was determined by common consent that everyone, everywhere should celebrate it on one and the same day; for what can be more appropriate, or what more solemn, then that this feast from which we have received the hope of immortality, should be kept by all without variation, using the same order and a clear arrangement?” [14]


Easter is a movable feast and was set by the Council of Nicaea as {A.D. 325} as the Sunday following the paschal full moon which is the full moon that falls on or after the vernal {spring} equinox.  While Western Christians used the Gregorian calendar which continues today throughout the West in both secular and religious worlds whereas the Eastern Orthodox Church used the older and astronomically inaccurate Julian Calendar hence the discrepancy in the date of Easter between East and West. [15]


Many people believe that Easter is determined by the date of Passover and were surprised when in years such as 2008, Western Christians celebrated Easter before the Jewish Celebration of Passover. In fact the Council of Nicaea set up a formula for calculating the date of Easter to separate the Christian celebration of Christ’s Resurrection from the Jewish celebration of the Passover. [16]


Which brings us to the topic suggested for this writing: “As a Catholic what does Easter mean to me?”


Easter is the highest Feast in our Calendar and when The Celebration of Mass on Holy Saturday Evening turned Night commences as The Procession enters a Church in total darkness and one by one a lit candle is passed from one worshipper to another until the Church is aglow while the aromatic blessing of incense flowing heavenward reminds us of our ancient spiritual heritage and our resolve and commitment in Welcoming of our own precious Catechists into this sacred faith through Baptism, Confirmation and First Holy Communion as they offer their lives in testimonial on this Vigil and anniversary of the conferring of these sacraments two thousand years ago under the threat of death to a fledging Christian Community. We welcome and embrace these newest Catholic Christians this evening as the future teachers of our faith for generations not yet born.


This is Easter the most Sacred and Highest Feast in all of Christendom. This is the foundation of our faith. This is our Celebration and this is our Eternity.

Happy Easter!

Dr. Charlie


Norman Greenbaum- Spirit in the Sky 1969.16




Footnotes & References:


[1][2] Synoptic Gospels: Encyclopedia  Britannica

[3] Synoptic Gospels: Wikipedia

[4] Empty Tomb Wikipedia

[5] When Was Jesus Born and When Did He Die? Posted By: Andreas Kostenberger on December 2010 Biblical Foundations

[6] Women in Islam: Testimony of Women

[7] Women in Palestinian Judaism: Future Church-Lakewood, Ohio

[8] Ancient Jewish History: The Birth and Evolution of Judaism

[9] Gilbert K. Chesterton Quotes

[10][11][12] Constantine the Great and Christianity

[13][14] Fourth Century Christianity: Emperor Constantine to all churches concerning the date of Easter

[15][16] How is the date of Easter Calculated?


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