04Apr April 4, 2021. Easter Day of the Lord’s Resurrection

April 4, 2021

Easter Day of the Lord’s Resurrection

1st Reading: Acts 10:34, 37-43

Peter and the other apostles are witnesses to the resurrection

Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Responsorial: from Psalm 118

R./: This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
His mercy endures forever. (R./)

The right hand of the Lord has struck with power;
the right hand of the Lord is exalted.
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the Lord. (R./)

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the Lord has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes. (R./)

2nd Reading: Colossians 3:1-4

Christ is now in glory; we share in his risen state

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

or: 1 Corinthians 5:6-8

Celebrate the festival with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, no with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Gospel: John 20:1-9

The empty tomb seen by Peter and the Beloved Disciple is a sign of the resurrection of Jesus

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus” head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

New life, with Jesus

The Easter story begins very early in the morning of the first day of the week while it is still dark. As an old man, John would later write that ‘the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining‘. But he links this strictly to one condition: ‘Whoever loves his brothers and sisters,’ John says, ‘lives in the light.’ On the other hand, ‘whoever prefers to hate… is still in the darkness.’ (1 Jn 2:8-11).

On Friday, as we remembered the sufferings and death of the most marvellous human being the world has ever known, we came face to face with the dark side of human nature, the darkness that led the enemies of Jesus to torture, humiliate, and finally murder him on a cross. On that black day in Jerusalem, the capacity of human beings to hate, hurt and harm one another went completely out of control. It’s no wonder, then, that ‘darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon‘, that ‘the sun’s light failed”, and that ‘the curtain of the temple was torn in two‘ (Lk 23:24).

Between light and darkness, between good and evil, one mighty struggle is still going on. It’s going on in the physical cosmos, in human societies, and within our own personalities. Although the darkness often appears to be stronger than the light, it has not yet triumphed. The light is remarkably resilient. Often in danger of being extinguished, it manages to survive, and even to win many victories. The words of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of modern India, still ring as true as when he spoke them seventy years ago: ‘When I despair I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but, in the end, they always fall.’ The words of the Easter Vigil liturgy express the same truth in an equally appealing way: ‘The power of this holy [Easter] night,’ it proclaims, ‘dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy. It casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride.’ Our celebration of Easter reminds us that the darkness of evil and hatred will never have the last say. For the resurrection of Jesus proclaims the ultimate triumph of light over darkness and goodness over evil, both in us and in our world.

Jesus was buried at sunset, as darkness was once again creeping over the earth, to all appearances a victim and a failure. But on the third day afterwards the sun came up on him victorious and triumphant, alive, powerful and influential. Once again, ‘the true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (Jn 1:9)

So we celebrate his resurrection today by rising from darkness and death ourselves. The Risen Lord himself, represented here by this beautiful Easter candle burning in our midst, is asking us to leave behind the works of darkness, to renounce and reject anything and everything in our lives which is dark, sinister and evil, and as persons connected to him by baptism, to ‘walk always as children of the light‘, following in his footsteps.

So we are now invited to renew our baptismal promises. Reject darkness, evil and sin in every shape and form. And promise to follow Jesus Christ from now on, in a life of light, goodness and love, a life shaped by his own powerful example, a life supported and guided by the Holy Spirit, whom he first gave us at baptism and whom he gives us again right now. So together, dear People of God, let us renew our baptismal promises, and renew them as loudly and enthusiastically as we can.

Meeting the Risen One

Mary of Magdala was first to go to the tomb, before the dawn when it was still dark, and discovered it empty. Jesus was missing — the master who had understood her and cured her, the prophet she had followed faithfully until his death. Who would she follow now? So her lament to the disciples was: They’ve taken my Lord from the grave and we don’t know where they have put him. Her lament could express the experience that many Christians are living through today: What have they done with the Risen Jesus? Where have they put him — the Lord in whom we believe: is it a Christ full of the promise of life or a Jesus whose memory keeps fading little by little in our hearts?

We don’t need scientific proofs in order to believe more firmly. To experience the joy of Easter it’s not enough to turn to the magisterium of the Church, or to study theological books. In order to meet the Risen One we need above all to journey within. If we don’t meet him inside ourselves, we won’t meet him anywhere. Later, John describes Mary going about looking for information. But when she does see Jesus, she’s so blinded by grief and tears that she does not recognize him; she thinks he’s the gardener. Jesus just asks her a question: Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?

Maybe we too need to ask ourselves something similar: Why is our faith so sad and low-key? What are Christians today looking for? What do we yearn for? Are we going around looking for a Jesus that we need in order to feel full of life in our communities? When Mary doesn’t recognize Jesus, he calls her by her name, with the same tenderness in his voice as when they were walking through Galilee: Mary!. She turns around quickly: Rabbuni! Master!.

Mary meets the Risen One when she feels herself personally called by him. That’s the core of resurrection faith. Jesus shows himself full of life to us when we feel ourselves called by our own name and we hear the invitation that he makes to each one of us. That’s when our faith grows. Our faith in the living Christ won’t be revived only by the Easter accounts alone. We won’t properly meet him if we don’t seek a living, personal contact with him. A combination of the love of Jesus known through the Gospel and sought personally in the depths of our hearts, can best lead us to meet the Risen One. [José Antonio Pagola]

Discovering Easter

The resurrection is deeply mysterious and we can’t quite experience its original impact in the hearts of his followers. This gospel, this great news, spans the centuries and is still a living force for here and now. In a sense, you and I are reflected in elements of that story, and may place ourselves within the account given by Saint John today. Am I like Magdalene, announcing the news of resurrection? Or like the apostles who respond immediately by running off to the tomb to see for themselves.

On Easter morning, the stone was rolled back from the mouth of the tomb. Is my heart be ike a tomb awaiting resurrection? Can I identify any “gravestone” that is holding me back from a fuller, freer life? It could be an addiction, a compulsion or some dark secret I have never shared with anyone. We can be sickened by our secrets. But as pope Francis said, we are meant to be “people of joyful hope, not doomsday prophets!” If we too discover the risen Jesus, we can all find hope and joy, and go out to share them with others.


One Response

  1. Thara Benedicta

    Key Message:
    There is always a crown of glory after the crown of thorns.

    Takeaway from first reading:strong>
    Apostle Peter gives his testimony of the son of God – The precious three years of his life with dear Lord Jesus.
    We have similar personal experience with God in our life. We have the Holy Spirit living within us and speaking to us.

    Thought to ponder:
    Are we giving testimony for the many resurrections that Almighty God has provided to us in our life?

    Takeaway from second reading:
    Renew your mind. As Apostle Paul has said ‘Set your mind on things that are above’. Do not think anything that comes to your mind. Choose your thoughts. Have a plan for your life and keep your thoughts focussed on the same. This will enable you to avoid junk thoughts.

    Thought to ponder:
    Are we experiencing happiness by recalling the goodness in our life or experiencing sadness by all the trials that we underwent?

    Takeaway from Gospel reading:
    God gives us a great story to explain that after every trial there will be a glory. After every Good Friday there is a resurrection. God has applied the same magic formulae in all our lives too. The reason why most of us think that we always have trials after trials is we keep recalling the trials that we undergo often and forget the peaceful time that comes after it. Even in the multitude of anxieties within us, we would have experienced a feeling of comfort and warmth from God.
    Book of Remembrances:
    God has His book of remembrances, where He writes all the good that we do. Similarly, to we need to write a book of remembrances writing all the good God has done for us. Write all your joys and sorrows daily. Obviously it would be the most interesting book that you could ever read!

    We recall the pain that we underwent on our Good Fridays. We recall the “what to do next?” moment experienced by the disciples on our Holy Saturdays. But do we recall the answers or the resurrection moments on our Easter Sundays?

    Have we deserted God due to our grief? Read through the promises of Bible and your own book of remembrances. You will be able to see that how God has blessed You with His promises in the Bible and how they became a reality to you. God sees what you are going through. He loves you unconditionally.

    Things to do:
    Maintain your Book of Remembrances recording your experiences with God.

    Tips for celebrating your Easters:
    1. Christ is our role model, who taught us by living. The Bible says, it is good that you suffer unjust pain and Christ is an example for us. As He marched through suffering to glory, we will also have glory once we come out of suffering and pain.
    2. Never think about your past agony and spend your time meditating on it. Offer all your past agonies at the altar of the Lord along with the blood of the Lord Jesus for the salvation of souls. Never waste your life by thinking about your past; Never waste your past pain – offer it to God for the salvation of the souls.
    3. Listen to God and do whatever He tells you to do. As you come closer in your walk with God, you will be able to feel God guiding you in the small things of life. Remember God as your loving Father. Instead of troubling your little head with ‘what to do,’ and ‘how do I handle this?’ believe in God. He will deliver you.
    4. If you are finding it difficult to trust in God, then recall the blessings you received earlier – How you were undergoing a similar kind of agony and God delivered you. When situations scare me, I too do the same. I will recall earlier instances of bigger problems and how our Jesus has calmed the storm. I will also recall that God will not allow us to suffer anything more than we can bear and also He will not allow us to suffer for a long time continuously. When I was sick, I used to say ‘Lord, I believe that You are going to do mighty things through me’.
    5. Believe that God is in control of your life and He has plans only to prosper you.
    6. Think about the purpose in your life and note it down. Once you recognise your goal, you will be able to set your mind on it. You will be able to create more joy in your life working towards the goal. If Jesus thought that He had come to the world only to die and there was no reason to it, then He would not have been longing to go to the cross. But He understood that His purpose was to bring whole humanity back to God the Father. He always had His purpose in mind.