Sunday 09 April 2023 – EASTER SUNDAY – The Mother of All Sundays

1st Reading: Acts 10:34a, 37-43

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.”

2nd Reading: Col 3:1-4 (or 1Cor 5:6b-8)

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. 

Gospel: Jn 20:1-9 (or Mt 28:1-10)

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. 

Easter Sunday- the Mother of All Sundays: Easter Sunday is the resurrection day and is therefore the mother of all Sundays. Jesus is indeed the Lord of life. Those who crucified him thought all had come to an end but  He is alive. Nobody can take away the life of the Lord of life. He is risen from the dead. His crucifixion and death were witnessed by both his friends and enemies alike. When Pilate released the body to Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus for burial, people knew that Jesus had really died and had been buried according to the accepted customs. That is why Mary’s reaction to discovering the tomb open was to conclude that possibly hostile authorities had taken the body (John 20:1-2). Mary could not understand what had happened because she did not know the Scriptures about the resurrection of Jesus (John 20:9). The resurrection fulfills the prophecy that, the Messiah would be persecuted, die for the sins of humanity and rise on the third day (Isa 53). Easter Sunday proves to humanity that death brings an end to earthly life, and an entry into Eternal Life. Each Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord. Without Easter Sunday all the other Sundays become meaningless for the Christians.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for proving to humanity through your resurrection that there is life after death. Amen.

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JESUS’ VICTORY OVER DEATH: Jesus rises from the death, conquers death and indeed is the Lord of life. He cannot be overcome by death. He proves to us that death is not the end,  “He had to rise from the dead” (John 20:9). After accomplishing this task, He shall go back to His glory. How come we still desire to look for Jesus among the dead?  The dead are those whose focus is only on worldly things. These will come to an end at death. Life is found among believers of life after death. Within this community of believers, gathered in His name, there is life. This is the Body of Christ, the Church. We cannot meet the Risen Christ without being active members of the Christian community, which is the Church. The Church represents all of us who are in union with the apostles, led by St Peter.

Prayer: Be present to all those who are eager to meet you Lord.

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SEEING AND BELIEVING: God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit. It was through the power of the Holy Spirit that he did everything when he moved around proclaiming the Kingdom of a living God. It was the Spirit of this living God that raised him from the dead. Peter was granted the chance of seeing the Risen Lord. He is a witness to this new reality whose author is only God. The tomb is empty. This is the event resurrection. We are not only talking about the meaning of Easter but about the REASON why we are Christians at all. One needs Easter eyes, so that one can see and believe. Without these eyes, there is a risk of only seeing the effects of Good Friday: fear, shame, guilt and meaninglessness. An empty tomb without the faith in the new reality of resurrection may create deeper emptiness. Whoever has Easter eyes will have the sight of the newness that God creates and will reflect this to the others.

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JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE AND WELL: The disciples in the early church did not actually see Jesus rising from the dead. They witnessed the empty tomb, saw the burial clothes and received a confirming revelation from the angel (Jn. 20:1-9). Through this, they believed that Jesus had risen. Their belief was further confirmed when Jesus appeared among them, and ate with them (Acts 10:37-43). We too cannot bear witness to Christ’s resurrection unless we encounter him. We encounter him in his Church, whose core mission is to bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus. It is in the Church that the Lord is alive and active; were it not true, the Church would have died long ago, from persecutions. The Church therefore is the “body” of Christ, with each of us being part of that body. Through involvement in the Church, we bear witness to the Risen Lord.

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WHERE IS JESUS? The Holy Scriptures tell us that Mary of Magdala, Peter and another disciple went to the tomb, but did not find the body of Jesus. The Scriptures says they started wondering because they did not yet understand the Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead (John 20:1-9). Jesus is above death and the Lord of life. For human beings to find eternal life, they cannot go to the tomb. It is found in Jesus, the risen Lord, whom we encounter when we read the Scriptures, celebrate the Eucharist, and when we love. Where is Jesus the risen Lord found? He is found in his church which he himself founded and entrusted to Peter as the first Pope and to his apostles. One has to listen to his word, implement it and receive him in the Eucharist.