We must enquire why, when he is describing the night of our Lord’s resurrection, the evangelist says, On the Sabbath evening which was growing on towards the dawn of Sunday, when the customary order of time would have the evening darkening into night, rather than growing on toward dawn. Speaking mystically the evangelist was striving to suggest the great dignity this most sacred night acquired from the glory of victory over death, when he mentioned that its inception had already begun to grow on toward the following dawn. Our Lord, the author and ruler of time, He who rose during the final part of the night, surely caused the whole of it to be festal and bright by the light of His resurrection.

From the beginning of the world’s creation until this time, the course of time was so divided that day preceded night, according to the order of its primeval making. On this night, because of the mystery of our Lord’s resurrection, the order of time was changed. He rose from the dead during the night, and on the following day showed the effect of His resurrection to His disciples. Most properly was night joined to the light of the following day, and the order of time so settled that day would follow night. It was once appropriate that night follow day, for by sinning the human race fell away from the light of paradise into the darkness and hardships of this age. It is fitting that day follow night now, when through faith in the resurrection we are led from the darkness of sin and the shadow of death to the light of life by Christ’s gift (St Bede, Homily for the Paschal Vigil).