Reckoning of time in Easter Season

Last Sunday, May 17, 2009, was the 6th Sunday of Easter in the current liturgical calendar. Using the norms in effect in 1962 (and I assume previous to that), the EF Mass celebrated was the 5th Sunday after Easter.

Why the switch from “after” in the old usage to “of” in the new? Or, to put it another way, why begin the ordinal count of Sundays in Eastertide with Easter Sunday itself in the new calendar as opposed to starting with the octave day as in the old calendar?

I do not pretend to know the answer, but here is my view (take it or leave it):

Saying that we are celebrating the 6th Sunday of Easter reminds us that we are indeed still in the Easter Season–Easter is not something “in the past” which has “ended” but the season continues, and so our celebration of it continues. On the other hand, saying that we are in the “5th Sunday after Easter” has more of the connotation that Easter was an event in the past and has since ended.

(Of course, I’m speaking entirely in terms of liturgical seasons.)

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