GALILEE EXPERIENCE—WE ARE EASTER WITNESSES
Peter had refused to say that he knew Jesus. Now, he cannot stop proclaiming that Jesus is risen. Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James, rush to tell the apostles that Jesus is risen. The readings of today are all about witnessing to the resurrection. Peter proclaims it as the key to his faith: Jesus who had been killed is truly risen and we, his disciples, are witnesses to this fact and this person. Mary Magdalene and her companion are told by the angels at the tomb that Jesus is risen. Then, they themselves encountered him. The Risen Jesus instructed them to convey this news to his other disciples. For now, they too, are witnesses that Christ is alive. We are these witnesses today.
Our living God,
our heart is glad and rejoices
and we feel secure in our faith,
that we have a living person to believe in,
Jesus Christ, who is risen from the dead.
Let him show us the path of life,
let us live in the joy of his presence
and give us the grace to make us witnesses,
so that we can proclaim with our whole life,
that Jesus is our risen, living Lord,
now and for ever. Amen!
1 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.”
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 16:1-2A AND 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
R. (1) Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope. or: Alleluia.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot. R.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. R.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption. R.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever. R.
Gospel Acclamation: Psalm 118:24
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Matthew 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.
Having witnessed the Mystery of the Resurrection, the two Marys leave in “holy fear” and “great joy,” and on the way, receive “peace” from the Risen Christ. The spontaneous response of an authentic soul to an encounter with the Divine Mystery must be a combination of holy fear and great joy, which then produces liberating peace within. I have sometimes come across people who seem uncomfortable to mention fear in relation to God, as if it is not a spiritually appropriate emotion. They often rephrase the scriptural verse “fear of God is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 111:10; 1:7; 9:10) as “love of God is the beginning of wisdom.” Would they rather have a God who is user-friendly, convenient, and bearable? That might mean refusal to let God be God. Holy fear is, indeed, a genuine response to the mysterious tremendous ‘et fascinans’. Yet, not all fear is holy or appropriate, as the latter part of today’s gospel reveals: the guards and the chief priests were also gripped by fear in the presence of the Mystery, but it only led them to greater deception. So, the kind of fear that is spiritually appropriate and holy is the one that is accompanied by joy and peacefulness. And that is what we shall pray for. The two Marys got them.
– For all the newly-baptized, that they may keep growing nearer to the risen Lord, we pray:
– For the missionaries, that they may proclaim to all those who are willing to listen that Jesus is the Risen Lord, who raises us above our selfishness and limitations, we pray:
– For all of us, that we may be joyful people, firm in our faith, because we have a Lord who has overcome evil and death, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
it is a real joy for us
that your Son, Jesus, has invited us
to sit at table with him.
Let him again break for us
the bread of himself
and let him make us a people of joy and hope,
who live close to Jesus
and close to our brothers and sisters,
as we are bound together
by the life and love of Jesus Christ,
our risen Lord, now and for ever. Amen!
Prayer after Communion
your Son Jesus, has spoken to us
his Word of greeting that takes away our fears
and that fills us with joy.
He has nourished us at his table
with the warmth of his loving presence.
Give us now the inspiration
to let our whole life bear witness to him,
to say that we believe in his message of hope
and that he is the center and meaning of our life.
For he is Jesus, our living Lord,
now and for ever. Amen!
Do not be afraid. Tell your brothers and sisters that the Lord is risen and alive. Let him also be alive in our communities, in our joy, in our faith, in our readiness to serve and love. May Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!