Gospel, readings and reflection – Easter Sunday

 

Easter Sunday The Resurrection of the Lord
The Mass of Easter Day

Lectionary: 42

Reading I

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.”

Responsorial Psalm

R  (24) This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
R  Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
 This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
 Alleluia.
“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.”
 This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
 Alleluia.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
 This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
R  Alleluia.

Reading II

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.

OR:

I Cor 5:6b-8

Brothers and sisters:
Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough?
Clear out the old yeast,
so that you may become a fresh batch of dough,
inasmuch as you are unleavened.
For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.
Therefore, let us celebrate the feast,
not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness,
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Sequence

Victimae paschali laudes

Christians, to the Paschal Victim
Offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems;
Christ, who only is sinless,
Reconciles sinners to the Father.
Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous:
The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.
Speak, Mary, declaring
What you saw, wayfaring.
“The tomb of Christ, who is living,
The glory of Jesus’ resurrection;
bright angels attesting,
The shroud and napkin resting.
Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;
to Galilee he goes before you.”
Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!
Amen. Alleluia.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed;
let us then feast with joy in the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

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.

 

REFLECTION

Alleluia!  He is Risen!

Saying those words is like drinking a tall glass of cold water after being out in the desert all day.  Lent is over and it is now time to celebrate the great joy of Easter!

At the Easter Vigil, the Exsultet is sung as Mass begins in darkness, illumined only by candles throughout the church.  The Exsultet is a beautiful hymn of rejoicing in Christ’s triumph over sin and death.  One part states:

O truly necessary sin of Adam, destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!  O happy fault that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!

This line stands out because it calls the sin of Adam “necessary” and refers to it as “O happy fault.”  At first, this may seem strange.  Why is it that we refer to the sin of Adam, Original Sin, as “necessary” and “happy.”  The answer is Easter.  It’s because God, in His perfect wisdom and love, took sin and the consequence of sin (death) and used them as the means of the salvation of the world.  That’s what Easter is all about!

This may be hard to comprehend so it’s worth thinking about more deeply.  Without Adam’s sin, there would be no Jesus.  God would not have had to become one of us.  So even though the original sin of Adam, as well as all future sin, is evil and wrong, God in His perfect power and love chose to use it as the very means of the salvation of the world.  How?  By allowing the sins of the world to persecute Him and crucify Him, and then, by turning that suffering and death into the very means of salvation.  Jesus destroyed sin by destroying the consequences of sin which is death.  Death loses in the Resurrection!  Jesus’ Resurrection takes away the effects of all sin for those who cling to Him.

Easter is a time when we must do just that.  We must “cling” to our resurrected Lord!  We must cling to Jesus who is alive and well.  We must cling to His Resurrection and strive to share in it.  How do we cling to our Resurrected Lord?  There are many ways.  Here is one.

Take joy in everything.  Start with whatever it is that burdens you the most.  Whatever it is that makes you angry, sad or depressed.  Whatever that is, it can potentially become one of your greatest sources of grace and joy.  Seriously, it can.  If the brutal Crucifixion of Jesus, the Son of God, can turn out to be the greatest event in all of human history, then your personal suffering, your burden, or even your sin can very much become a source of great joy as long as you let God transform it into part of His Resurrection!

This is the meaning of Easter!  Easter means that nothing can keep us from the joy that God wants to give us.  Nothing can steal that joy away.  Sure, at times we will struggle just as Jesus did in the Agony of the Garden and the Via Dolorosa (the Way of the Cross), but those sufferings will not win.  The Resurrection won with Christ and it will win with us when we cling to Him.  Jesus persevered and, in the end, rose victorious.  This is Easter!

Know that God wants you to experience the joy of Easter in your life.  Let Him fill you with hope and with the joy that only the Resurrection can bring.  God wants Easter to begin now in our lives!  Happy Easter!

 

Prayer:-

My transforming Lord, help me to cling to You in Your Resurrection.  Help me to let you transform every cross and burden in my life into joy.  Lord, may Your joy fill my life and be my strength in all things.  Jesus, I trust in You.