Easter Day Mass-Cycle B-2018
FIRST READING Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Peter proceeded to speak and said: “You know what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.
SECOND READING Colossians 3:1-4
Brothers and sisters: If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.
GOSPEL John 20:1-9
On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.
My sisters and brothers in the Lord,
Christ is risen! Incredible! Christ died for us, but Christ is risen and now lives for us! The followers of Jesus were devastated by His death because they had believed that He was the Messiah. They saw Him die such a humiliating and painful death and most could no longer believe in Him because His death seemed to deny all that they had believed.
His Resurrection changed everything. It was as if they were now able to understand more of what He had said and preached. His mysterious words now seemed prophetic and made sense. Christ is risen! That statement changed the whole reality of faith for His followers.
The first reading today is from the Acts of the Apostles, the witness of Saint Luke. This witness explains how the followers felt, how they seemed to lose all hope and only with the Resurrection were they able to understand to some extent the wonderful works of God. The Resurrection transformed this band of followers into a group of people totally committed to proclaiming that Jesus is the Lord, even if everyone else doubted them or even made fun of them. They could now understand the Law and the Prophets and the Wisdom literature of their ancestors in the faith and see that all of that pointed to Jesus as Lord. Alleluia!
The second reading today is from the Letter to the Colossians. This is the witness of Saint Paul. We must die with Christ so that we too can be raised with Christ. This whole life now, for us as followers of Jesus, is the process of dying to ourselves and living more and more in Jesus. We are invited to proclaim Jesus as Lord by our own dying to self and living in Him. Alleluia!
The Gospel today is from Saint John. This is the witness of Saint John. The men who were followers of Jesus were totally undone by His death and sort of stuck together, bemoaning the death of Jesus, but not doing much more. Instead, the women went to the tomb and found it empty. The women then return and tell the men, who run to the tomb—believing that the body of Jesus had been stolen. They did not yet believe in the Resurrection.
John gets to the tomb first but does not go in. Instead he waits for Peter to go in. They both see the same thing: “the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.” Peter does not yet believe but John believes. John tells us in this Gospel: “they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.”
Slowly, ever so slowly, the followers begin to receive reports that Jesus is alive and speaking with various followers and that these followers begin to believe that it is really Jesus, now risen from the dead. Alleluia!
And you? And me? Do we believe? Alleluia! Christ is risen from the dead! He tramples down death by death! He gives life to those in the tomb! He speaks to His followers! He eats with them! Alleluia. Let us rejoice in the Lord!
Your brother in the Lord,