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Easter Sunday
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Readings for Easter Sunday

1. Acts 10, 34 and 37-43
  • I have an example of early Christian preaching.  It is all about Jesus, anointed with the holy Spirit and power, whom God appointed judge of the living and the dead.  Because it is the story of our Savior it is our story, too.
  • What impressed the apostles so much about Jesus was his doing good and healing.  Peter does not mention his teachings but his example of action.
  • I notice that Peter mentions almost in passing the shattering death of Jesus, only the barest of facts.  Peter spends much more time on his life on earth, and his presence among the apostles as the risen Lord.
  • Peter does not make a sales pitch, with the aim of securing a larger market share for Christianity.  The benefit is for everyone, living and dead, and so the message is for everyone.
  • Central point: the man Jesus of Nazareth, who lived among us and was anointed, raised and appointed by our God as the center of our life of faith.
  • Message for our assembly: We hear the witness of Peter two thousand years later, and as we receive it we hand it on through our own lives of faith.
  • I will challenge myself: to speak the words of Peter as the good news that it is, with the same confidence as I do our creed, because this is why we form the church of believers.

2. Colossians 3, 1-4

  • I ask, and my listeners must also be asking themselves: Aren’t we celebrating the resurrection of Jesus today?  Then what is this about our own resurrection?
  • It is important that I try to answer this question by the attention I pay to the apostle’s words.  The Gospel passage will prompt us to reflect first on what happened to Jesus, and only secondarily on what that might mean for us.
  • The liturgy reminds us that our church is so closely identified with Christ in these Easter days.  As the apostle says, we are already raised with Christ.  I note a more intimate identification in the letter than I did in the reading from Acts. 
  • Central point: We identify with Christ in our death, and so we will in our rising.
  • The message for our assembly is that we must continue to work for our salvation.  All the New Testament was formed in the light of Easter.  The discipline we began in Lent should continue all through the year.  So we should seek what is above.
  • I will challenge myself: to make the words decisive for the assembly.  You have died means that our lives have reached a finality from which there is no turning back.

Gospel.  John 20, 1-9

  • John may make the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection more plain to his listeners than the other evangelists did with their narratives of the discovery of the empty tomb. 
  • For John the good news is reported from one disciple to another, without an angel to intervene and interpret the void.  The other gospels provide details that may distract us from the message, but not John.  Mary is not going to do anything at the tomb; she just came to the tomb.
  • I hear the excitement building.  I hear them running, first Mary and then the disciples.  I can reflect that excitement in the acceleration of my voice.
  • The first report is just a news account, as we have seen so many times in John’s narratives.  They have taken the Lord- this would be our own reaction if we found the graves of our loved ones disturbed.  When the disciples arrive at the tomb they remain silent, perhaps looking at each other in bewilderment, and I can reflect with my pauses that same state of surprise.
  • The details of the burial cloths convince the disciples and ourselves that Mary was wrong, that the corpse was not stolen.  It is beginning to sound like a detective novel, with new clues and shifts in suspicion.  If I take my time I can point this out and maybe take the assembly somewhere they had not gone before.  Remember that we have learned the Easter story from the account in Matthew where an angel proclaims the Good News all at once.  John’s account is much more existential and suggests a gradual awareness.
  • Notice how the beloved disciple saw and believed, just like doubting Thomas!  I will say this sentence more deliberately, to indicate how faith is taking hold.  Something is clicking.
  • Central point: God is not mentioned anywhere, but God is not absent.
  • Message for our assembly: If the disciples of Jesus did not yet understand the scripture, we may be forgiven a little doubting of our own.   But we are not forgiven our actions of silence and doubt.  Are we part of the same church that began as a sharing of good news?  Do we pray for the same gift of faith?
  • I will challenge myself: To bring out the evangelization that is going on in this passage, from Mary to Peter and the beloved disciple.  This is the first stage of a series of reports from one person to another.  And it continues today between ourselves and those we meet.

From Word to Eucharist: Are we witnesses to each other?  Can we imagine, as we process in communion, that we are?  How can we become more than strangers juxtaposed by accident? 

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