In the Roman liturgy, Easter begins with the solemn Vigil on the night of Holy Saturday and continues for the 50 days of Eastertide, which ends with Pentecost. It is the time when the Church rejoices with the risen Christ, as she awaits his return in glory. We will take our cue from the texts of the new Roman Missal.
One of the meanings of “Easter” is that of “passage” (Passover). It was already so for the Hebrews, and it is now so for Christians, as we sing in the Easter Exsultet: “This is the night, when once you led our forebears, Israel’s children, from slavery in Egypt and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.”
The “passage” takes place through the water of baptism: “O God […], what you once bestowed on a single people, freeing them from Pharaoh’s persecution by the power of your right hand, now you bring about through the waters of rebirth.” In fact, the Red Sea “prefigures the sacred font, and “the nation delivered from slavery foreshadows the Christian people,” who obtain “the privilege of Israel by merit of faith,” and are “reborn by partaking of your Spirit.” Thus, “human nature, created in your image, and washed clean through the Sacrament of Baptism,” is found to be “worthy to rise to the life of newborn children through water and the Holy Spirit” and attain “perfect freedom.”