Saturday, April 19, 2014
April 20, 2014
[The Resurrection of the Lord, Solemnity]
Acts 10:34a, 37-43 / Ps 118: 1-2, 16-17, 22-23; Col 3: 1-4 or Cor: 6b-8 / John 20: 1-9 or Mt. 28:1-10 or evening Lk: 24:13-35.
Easter Triduum ends after Evening Prayer
First Reading: Acts 10: 34a, 37-43
Peter then spoke to them, "Truly, I realize that God does not show partiality. No doubt you have heard of the event that occurred throughout the whole country of the Jews, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism John preached. You know how God anointed Jesus the Nazarean with Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all who were under the devil's power, because God was with him; we are witnesses of all that he did throughout the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem itself. Yet they put him to death by hanging him on a wooden cross. But God raised him to life on the third day and let him manifest himself, not to all the people, but to the witnesses that were chosen beforehand by God - to us who ate and drank with him after his resurrection from death. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to bear witness that he is the one appointed by God to judge the living and the dead. All the prophets say of him, that everyone who believes in him has forgiveness of sins through his Name."
Second Reading: Col 3: 1-4
So then, if you are risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on earthly things. For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, reveals himself, you also will be revealed with him in Glory.
Gospel: Mt 28: 1-10
After the Sabbath, at the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a violent earthquake: an angel of the Lord descending from heaven, came to the stone, rolled it from the entrance of the tomb, and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning and his garment white as snow. The guards trembled in fear and became like dead men when they saw the angel. The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he is risen as he said. Come, see the place where they laid him; then go at once and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead and is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. This is my message for you." They left the tomb at once in holy fear, yet with great joy, and they ran to tell the news to the disciples. Suddenly, Jesus met them on the way and said, "Peace." The women approached him, embraced his feet and worshiped him. But Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to set out for Galilee; there they will see me."
At the end of the Holy Week celebration, we have a beautiful custom in the Philippines called "salubong" translated from the Spanish word "encuentro." In some provinces, a tower is erected in strategic location in town and in the early Easter Sunday morning, the women and men first come to church and leave it taking different routes to reach the designated place for the encounter. A little child dressed like an angel is lowered from the tower, sings the Regina Coeli in Latin and at the appointed time lifts the veil from the Blessed Mother to signify the end of her sorrow because her Son has arisen from the dead. When the angelic song is done, the two groups return to the church to celebrate the Mass of the Resurrection and the little angel is hoisted back to the platform. A simpler form is to meet at a designated area where the angel sings the Regina Coeli, but there is no tower involved.
The account of Christ meeting his mother after the Resurrection is not recorded in Scripture but as St Ignatius of Loyola points out it makes sense that Jesus would first visit his mother since he was very close to her on earth.
What actually does the Resurrection mean to us today? Is it just one of the ordinary Sundays that we are expected to come to church and fulfill our Sunday duties? After Mass do we simply go like the rest of the world for parties and bring children to join one of the Easter egg hunts?
Let us go back to the events of the Resurrection and try to understand the importance of this event in the life of our faith. The apostles had just lost their master and leader and were still grieving. They were hiding in the Upper Room in fear of their lives. They did not know what do to next. Then they hear this incredible news that the body of Jesus was no longer in the tomb. Mary first went to the tomb and saw the stone removed and placed at the entrance and she ran to tell Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved about it. One can imagine Peter's concern and wanting to make sure the body of his master was not desecrated, he and John took off to see what they could do about it. But the younger man outran Peter and reached the tomb first and saw the tomb empty. The younger man saw and believed that the Lord had risen. They had not yet understood the meaning of the empty tomb.
What does the empty tomb mean? First, it tells us that Jesus fulfilled his promise that he would rise again on the third day after his death. St John's account of the empty tomb gives us the best response of the apostles. The one who had arrived first saw the burial cloth rolled neatly in a separate place and he believed. But the apostles had not yet understood the meaning of the Resurrection. It is only after a few days later that they would finally realize that he has arisen from the dead. Jesus would have to appear to the disciples, speak to them and convince them that he had come back to life.
Second the Resurrection of Jesus has the power to heal and transform the broken world. Look back at the state of mind of the disciples after the death of Christ. They were in hiding, very much afraid of the temple authorities. But once Jesus spoke to them and dined with them, they were transformed to do his work. They were no longer afraid of anyone and they simply came out and proclaimed the good news of salvation.
The disciples of Jesus realized they abandoned him and they felt powerless to defend him against the mighty forces of the Roman army. But none of that was ever brought up in any of the Resurrection accounts. All through the Resurrection accounts Jesus consoled, encouraged and gave peace to all. He kept telling them, "Peace be with you!" Lk 24:6 / Jn 20: 19, 21 & 26.
The Resurrection of Jesus or the empty tomb finally reminds us that it empowered the disciples to transform themselves and the world. It is an incredible story of how a small band of rural folks could have the power to change the world. They could not have done this on their own. It is through the power of the Almighty working through people that the message of salvation has been passed on from generation to generation. We are Easter people and we are called to transform the world. Let us do that with joy in our hearts every day of our lives.
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary
... for families who are in need of healing
... for world peace and reconciliation
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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