Easter Season – Year C
The season of Easter follows the Triduum and concludes with the feast of the Body & Blood of Christ. There is much joy in the stories from this relatively short period of time. The readings also flesh out Jesus’ teachings regarding the meaning of the “new covenant” that He told his followers He was bringing to the world. For our purposes on this website we have included the Easter Vigil liturgy as part of the Easter Season proclamations.
Throughout this Season we proclaim the amazing story of Jesus’ Resurrection and its significance for us in our daily living. We as Lectors ultimately are challenged to be like those early Christians. We relate to our listeners the experiences of our fellow believers who, 2000 years ago, were convinced that Jesus had indeed risen from death. Further, they were confident that Christ will be with them “until the end of Time.” Our proclamation effort should reflect our witness to the truthfulness and validity of Jesus’ promise over all the centuries to be true, today, in our own lives. Try as best you can to put yourself into each of the scenes the stories relate to us so that you report not only the words and actions but also the deep feelings Christ’s followers experienced in those days.
The first reading of the Sundays of the Easter Season following Easter Sunday in Year/Cycle C are all from the Acts of the Apostles and have to do with the growth of the Church. Although not explicitly stated, the growing resentment and persecution of the followers of Jesus, particularly by the power groups within the Jewish community, is also related. These stories are filled with examples of what the Apostles did to bolster their claim that Jesus was with them, even though He had died, rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven. And they sincerely urge their listeners to become followers of Jesus. The principal characters are Peter, Paul and Stephen who’s martyrdom and introduction of Saul (Paul) concludes the Year C Season of Easter. Lectors should make every effort in their proclamations to reflect the determination, inspiration, and trust in Jesus of Peter, Paul and Stephen. You should proclaim the passages in such a way that your listeners can be transported along with you to the very places and times when the actions described take place.
The second readings for these Sundays are all taken from St. John’s Book of Revelation. These passages are very demanding when they are proclaimed since the language is more spiritual, contemplative and visually imaginative. Try to be St. John as he dreams of what Heaven is like. What does one sound like when describing something that is truly awesome and beyond one’s wildest imaginings? The underlying theme has to do with assuring the followers of Jesus that despite their persecution and harassment by the Jewish leaders the reward for them will be so much more than even they can imagine. Conveying this orally requires a tone of conviction, certainty, and active emotions stemming from your appreciation of what John is seeing and relating. Have the courage to be there reporting what is going on!
All of the Gospel passages for this season in Year C are from St. John. He is the theologian of the Twelve and sees much more than the mere description of events or happenings than a typical storyteller would be expected to convey. The “stories” in these Gospels deal with Jesus last days with the Apostles and original disciples. John begins with the conversion of Thomas, the doubter, and pushes on to the proof that Jesus glorified retains His full human nature in the story of the morning breakfast on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias. Once the reality of Jesus’ presence among them is established John then moves to the underlying theme these passages: the Unity of Jesus and His Father as well as with us based on the need to follow Jesus’ commandment of love.
The Ascension of the Lord is celebrated in the Easter Season as well, usually between the 6th and 7th Sundays of Easter.
When celebrated on a weekend it takes the place of the 7th Sunday of Easter.
Fifty days after the Easter celebration we turn to celebrate and remember the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles. The precursor of this feast was a Jewish festival celebrating fifty days after Passover as well as coinciding with the spring harvest of fruits and vegetables. By the time of Jesus it had evolved into a celebration of the religious history of the Jews culminating in the early centuries after Jesus’ death with an emphasis on the Torah as God’s gift to His people, Israel.
The Church focuses on the Spirit of God in the world in the three weeks starting with Pentecost and culminating in the Body and Blood of Christ. As followers of Jesus we are charged with the responsibility to “teach all the nations”. We gain sustenance for our mission from these very intensive weeks of celebrating the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. These weeks are focused on remembering what Jesus taught and what His mission was — the growing sense of freedom for all humanity from the bondage of self-absorption and the evil in our world. As lectors we must reflect our conviction that continuing this mission has meaning for us as the story-tellers of our community.
In a given liturgy box below click on the format you are interested in viewing or printing. We’ve also included a link to “The Word” column from America Magazine for each liturgy (if available). The articles are from the last Year C cycle (2009-2010) but are still useful and thought-provoking for your preparation efforts. (We will update these references before the next Year C cycle starts.)
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