Händel’s Messiah was first performed in Dublin, Ireland, during Eastertide, April 13, 1742. Based on extracts from the King James Bible, the libretto by Charles Jennens is an Easter proclamation.
Following the popular ‘Alleluia Chorus’ at the end of Part II, Part III of ‘The Messiah’ picks up the Easter message beginning with the words: “I know that my Redeemer liveth” (Job 19:25). “For now is Christ risen from the dead, the first fruits of all that sleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20).
Shortly after the first performance of the Messiah the great oratorio became associated with Christmas rather than Easter and it remains so today. It is a happy reminder that Christmas has no significance except in the light of Easter. The evangelists, Matthew and Luke, wrote their infancy narratives not because of the significance of Jesus’ birth in itself, but because of the significance of what followed – his life, death and resurrection, and his sending the Holy Spirit. Still today Christmas proclaims the Easter mystery – Christ is risen!
*St. Lucy was martyred in the 4th century witnessing to the resurrection of Jesus.
It is to heaven that we look expectantly for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to save us; he will form this humbled body of ours anew, moulding it into the image of his glorified body, so effective is his power to make all things obey him- Philippians 3:20b-21
Lord, give us courage through the prayers of St. Lucy. As we celebrate her entrance into eternal glory we ask to share her happiness in the life to come. We ask you this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
‘Tis the spring of souls today;- St. John Damascene (750), translated by John Mason Neale
Christ hath burst his prison,
And from three days’ sleep in death
As a sun hath risen;
All the winter of our sins,
Long and dark, is flying
From his light, to whom we give
Laud and praise undying