Octave of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 2:14, 22-33
On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed: “You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem. Let this be known to you, and listen to my words. “You who are children of Israel, hear these words. Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs, which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know. This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him. But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it. For David says of him: I saw the Lord ever before me, with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted; my flesh, too, will dwell in hope, because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world, nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence. My brothers, one can confidently say to you about the patriarch David that he died and was buried, and his tomb is in our midst to this day. But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld nor did his flesh see corruption. God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses. Exalted at the right hand of God, he poured forth the promise of the Holy Spirit that he received from the Father, as you both see and hear.”
Gospel: Mt 28:8-15
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce the news to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened. The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’ And if this gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.
THE JOY OF THE RESURRECTION: Mary Magdalene and other Mary went from the empty tomb to announce the Good News of the resurrection to the disciples and on the way Jesus appeared to them and told them, “Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” They were to leave their places, to go and see Jesus in another place. Today this is a message to us, but we don’t need to “go” and find Jesus in another place. If we cannot find the resurrected Christ in our families, friends, and where we work, we can’t find Him anywhere else. In Jesus, there is power to proclaim and to stand firm in faith. This is because He sends us the Holy Spirit to be with us. This is starting to be evident in the Acts of the Apostles. Do we believe in the resurrected Jesus? As Christians have we embraced this true Gospel fully, and practice it in our daily lives?
Prayer: Help me Lord to experience your presence in my life.
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO STOP THE GRACE OF THE RESURRECTION: Just as it was impossible for him to be held by the jaws of death, so is impossible to stop the spreading of the good news that he lives. Peter, who, during the critical moment of Jesus’ arrest, denied any knowledge of him, can now boldly hold high the risen Jesus before the Jews who tried to eliminate God’s anointed one. Post resurrection there are two contrasting commands: “The chief priests and the elders: “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.” On the other hand Risen Jesus: “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” The command to proclaim life wins over the command shut up life. The Risen Lord continues to encounter his brothers and sisters in Galilee, in the ordinary situations of life. At times he will appear as the gardener and at other times as journey companion.
EASTER JOY: Easter is not just an event but an experience of great joy as was the experience of the women in the gospel of today. Therefore, one day of celebration is not sufficient to savour the sweetness of Easter. We have eight days of Easter celebration in what is called, the octave of Easter. During this week, we continue to sing the Gloria, and end the mass with the dismissal: “Go in peace, alleluia, alleluia”. It is interesting to note that in all the gospels, women are the first witnesses of the resurrection, just as they are said to be at the foot of the cross and even overseeing the burial of Jesus. There is a connection between the cross and the empty tomb. There is no resurrection without death. There is no joy without suffering. The Paschal Mystery (passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus) simply invites us to embrace that paradox of life – of the cross and of the empty tomb.