Today’s Gospel describes an absence that confounds the disciples, making ready them for the Presence their hearts want.
Gospel (Read Jn 20:1-9)
On Palm Sunday, the narrative of our Lord’s Passion ended with these phrases: “So they [the chief priests and Pharisees] went and secured the tomb by fixing a seal to the stone and setting the guard” (Mt 27:66). Jesus’ dead Body had been shortly ready for burial (as a result of the Sabbath sunset approached), and He was laid within the recent tomb of a wealthy man. Then, for His followers, there was silence and utter desolation. We can solely think about how a lot “relaxation” they acquired on what should have been the longest Sabbath day of their lives.
Today, St. John tells us, “On the primary day of the week, Mary of Magdala got here to the tomb early within the morning, whereas it was nonetheless darkish” (Jn 20:1). Now that the Sabbath was over, she was coming to complete the burial anointing. Why did she arrive so early, earlier than daybreak? Anyone who has grieved over the demise of a cherished one is aware of the reply to this query. The finality of demise, even for these ready for its arrival, is actually un-believable. We can not bear the considered not seeing this pricey one once more. Mary had the chance to be close to Jesus as soon as extra, to see and contact Him. Even in demise, He drew her to Him with an irresistible pressure.
Mary noticed that the stone had been faraway from the tomb. Shock! We can really feel her eagerness to be with Jesus once more, but He was not within the tomb. St. John desires us to see that the followers of Jesus have been sluggish to grasp what He had advised them many occasions: He would rise from the dead. Mary believed that somebody had taken the Lord and put Him elsewhere. Imagine this for a second: profound grief was compounded by profound horror. For Mary, the empty tomb was not a supply of pleasure. It was an agonizing twist in what was turning into a nightmare.
Peter and John (“the opposite disciple whom Jesus cherished”) ran to the tomb with Mary’s information. They, too, have been drawn to the Lord on this energetic race. John arrived first, however discover his deference to Peter, the Lord’s personal appointed chief of the apostles. Once inside, they shortly realized that grave robbers weren’t accountable for the absence of Jesus. The burial cloths (tremendous, costly linen) would by no means have been left behind by robbers this manner. No, one thing massive was underway. St. John tells us that when he entered the tomb and noticed the burial cloths, “…he believed” (Jn 20:8). What did he imagine? Only that Jesus was actually gone from the tomb—itself a terrific thriller. He goes on to make that clear: “For they didn’t but perceive the Scripture that He needed to rise from the dead” (Jn 20:9).
So, on Easter Sunday, the Gospel studying leaves us with solely clues. How fascinating! There will not be, as we’d anticipate, the boundless pleasure of the disciples seeing Jesus alive once more. Instead, we spend time with His followers of their longing, nervousness, disappointment, and utter confusion. We, in fact, know what’s happening, however they don’t as but. St. John desires us to linger for a spell within the very human reactions to an astounding miracle. He helps us really feel deeply the query that boggled the disciples: What has occurred to Jesus? It is barely by getting into totally into this human dilemma that we’re really ready for the reply: Jesus has conquered Death. The worst factor that has ever occurred in human historical past (males killed the “Author of life,” Acts 3:15) has turn out to be the most effective factor that has ever occurred in human historical past, and man’s historical past has been modified eternally.
Possible response:Lord Jesus, typically I’m shocked that You don’t appear to be the place I anticipate You. Help me imagine that what I really feel is Your absence will all the time result in Your Presence.
Lord Jesus, what have I heard many occasions from You and never but understood?
First Reading (Read Acts 10:34a, 37-43)
If we take into consideration what we’ve got seen of Peter within the readings for Holy Week, this passage from Acts would possibly go away us asking a query: What has occurred to Peter? We keep in mind him on Palm Sunday, denying the Lord 3 times and fleeing when Jesus was crucified. Today’s Gospel tells us that Mary Magdalene needed to go fetch Peter along with her information, as a result of he and the opposite apostles have been hiding “for worry of the Jews” (Jn 20:19). Yet right here we see him boldly preaching the Good News (to the identical Jews who had terrified him) that demise couldn’t maintain Jesus. We see the results in him of the Resurrection—extra clues to its actuality. Peter testifies not solely to “Jesus of Nazareth,” Who “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38), but additionally to the truth that he “ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead” (Acts 10:41). The fee he and the opposite apostles acquired from the Risen Jesus, confirmed by the anointing of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, turned Peter inside out. What a metamorphosis from the befuddlement of the empty tomb! Freed from his cowardice and worry, he needed the world to know that Jesus is alive and that “everybody who believes in Him will obtain forgiveness of sins by means of His Name” (Acts 10:43).
Possible response: Lord, this Easter season, please loosen my tongue to bear witness to Your empty tomb and to the meal we nonetheless eat and drink with You within the Mass.
Psalm (Read Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23)
The psalmist proclaims: “This is the day the LORD has made; allow us to rejoice and be glad.” Great pleasure like this would possibly make us surprise about its trigger: What has occurred to the psalmist? If we learn your complete psalm, we see he describes a time of unthinkable reversal in his life, when he was in horrible misery, and his enemies surrounded him “like bees” that “blazed like a fireplace of thorns” (Ps 118:12). He recounts that he was “pushed arduous, in order that I used to be falling, however the LORD helped me” (Ps 118:13). In truth, the LORD’s deliverance sprung him from demise: “I shall not die however dwell, and declare the works of the LORD” (Ps 118:17). Yet what actually appears to gas the psalmist’s elation is that “the stone which the builders rejected has turn out to be the cornerstone” (Ps 118:22). The psalmist’s enemies had rejected him, however God upset their plans to be rid of him, and, as an alternative, set him like a cornerstone, a rock of stable energy. Now we perceive the enjoyment of the psalmist, and why we’re utilizing his phrases to rejoice on Resurrection Sunday. The reversal he skilled from God’s mighty hand ignited his coronary heart to sing God’s praises on the day of his deliverance and victory. His phrases assist us re-live this Day the beautiful pleasure of Jesus’ victory over sin and demise, our most feared enemies. When the which means of the empty tomb washes over us, we are going to echo the psalmist’s awe: “By the LORD has this been accomplished; it’s great in our eyes!” (Ps 118:23)
Possible response: The psalm is, itself, a response to our different readings. Read it once more prayerfully to make it your individual.
Second Reading (Read Col 3:1-4)
In his epistle, St. Paul writes a most outstanding exhortation to his Christian buddies (and to us): “Think of what’s above, not of what’s on earth” (Col 3:2). Why ought to we, earthbound creatures that we’re, be searching for what’s above? What has occurred to us? St. Paul tells us that the demise and Resurrection of Jesus, our focus all throughout Holy Week, has occurred to us, too. In baptism, we died with Christ and rose once more with Him right into a model new life. The energy that raised Jesus from the dead has seated us with Christ: “Your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3). What a metamorphosis for us! The empty tomb of the primary Easter has reverberated all the best way out to us now, within the 21st century. Its which means will not be solely historic however private. In Christ, we’re forgiven our sins, launched from demise, and destined for glory: “When Christ your life seems, then you’ll seem with Him in glory” (Col 3:4). Allelulia!
Possible response: Father, forgive me when I attempt to make life on this earth my solely purpose. Help me to set my thoughts on heaven.
Image: Piero della Francesca, The Resurrection
Disqus Shortname not set. Please check settings