for Sunday, April 16, 2017
Christ is risen, alleluia! "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."
Christ is truly risen! You and I must be witnesses also to these facts: Jesus lived among us and was killed and really died. God raised him from the dead! Jesus is God and Lord of all.
The Acts of the Apostles, from where the first reading is taken, challenges us on this Easter Day: Be witnesses to the Lord. The second reading, from the Letter to the Colossians, tells us "If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above." We humans, even after we believe and are baptized, still find ourselves sinning. We don't always seek the things that are above. The hold of pleasure, of power and of money seems to draw us away from seeking that which is above.
Yet, God continues to seek us out in mercy and love. This is why the Father sent the Son and why the Holy Spirit constantly is drawing us back to God. We celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus because Jesus died for us and was raised for us. We die in our sins but Jesus is always raising us. Christ is risen. Alleluia.
The Gospel, from John at this Mass, tells us again the confusion, the surprise, the challenge to faith of those first believers. In the Gospels, it is the women who are faithful. They are the ones who stay with Jesus at the Cross and they are the ones who go to the tomb. The women are the first to believe. The women are those who recognize the Lord.
Still, in this Gospel of John, we see Peter and John running to the tomb after getting word from Mary of Magdala. John runs more quickly but does not go in. He waits for Peter. Peter goes in and sees various things in the tomb. That is all that is said about Peter. John goes in and believes.
We are invited to follow these women and these apostles and allow their witness to draw us to faith. Christ is risen! Our own faith is received from others, either directly from people in our lives, or from reading that which has been written by others. Wherever we are in our faith, may this day of the Resurrection of Jesus become more real for us and draw us into the mystery of God's love for us. Christ is risen. Alleluia.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Acts 10.34a, 36-43++
Second Reading: Colossians 3.1-4
Gospel: John 20.1-18++
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: