Reflections

SOLEMNITY OF EASTER – Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018

THE LORD HAS TRULY RISEN! ALLELUIA!

1.The Victory of Life
2. 
A Risen People
3. 
Called to Life with Christ 

1. The Victory of Life

Greeting (See alternative Second Reading)
Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed
and he is risen from the dead.
Let us celebrate the feast
by getting rid of all that is evil
and becoming all new in the Lord.
May the Risen Lord be always with you. R/ And also with you.

Introduction by the Celebrant

It is very inspiring to meet people wounded in their love and their life, whom we expect to be disgruntled and discouraged, yet who keep believing in love and the goodness of God and of the people around them. Today we meet in the Eucharist him who keeps our faith and hope alive in God’s goodness and loving concern: it is Jesus, our Lord risen from the dead. He went through suffering and death for us, and when all looked lost, all seemed in vain, he kept trusting in the Father and he rose from the dead. By the power of Jesus we too can rise to new life, to a feast of joy within us. We believe in the Risen Lord and in the resurrection he has brought us.

2.A Risen People

Introduction by the Celebrant
Jesus our Lord is risen. Alleluia! This Jesus who was condemned to death, scourged and mocked and crowned with thorns, he who was jeered when he died on the cross, is risen and alive! Since that day God guarantees that his love is stronger than death. He also reassures us on this day: look to my risen Son: with him you are already rising from your pain and loneliness and wounds. With my Son and his Church your task is to lift up people from their miseries, to revive hope and joy and happiness until the day when you will fully rise to the happiness that can never be dimmed or taken away from you. Let the joy of the risen Christ light up your faces.

3. Called to Life with Christ 

Greeting
Christ is risen, alleluia!
With Christians all over the world
we shout this cry of joy today
as we thank our Father in heaven
for raising Jesus from the dead.
May the peace and joy of the Risen Lord
be always with you. R/ And also with you.

Introduction by the Celebrant
Today we celebrate life: the life of Jesus, as he rose from the dead, our life that is now stronger than death, stronger than all suffering and pain. Life makes sense and is worthwhile. It is very precious, and we have to bring life to one another and to our world: it must be a risen world in which there is joy, not fear, where justice and love triumph. Let us pray to the Risen Lord here among us that we and our world may rise with him.

First Reading: Witnesses to the Resurrection
Peter testifies to the reality of the resurrection: Jesus is truly risen personally and if we believe in the Risen Lord, we will be saved.

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.”

Responsorial Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23.
R. (24) This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”

“The right hand of the LORD has struck with power;
the right hand of the LORD is exalted.
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.”
R.

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
R.

Second Reading: Risen with Christ
Christ’s resurrection has already begun in us, says St. Paul. We must continue to rise with him by letting him free us more and more, so as to share one day in his full risen glory.

COL 3:1-4
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.

OR
Alternative Second Reading: New People in the Risen Christ
We should not let evil ferment in us, but rather let the new life in Christ be the ferment that trans-forms us and the world.

I Cor 5:6b-8 
Brothers and sisters:
Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough?
Clear out the old yeast,
so that you may become a fresh batch of dough,
inasmuch as you are unleavened.
For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.
Therefore, let us celebrate the feast,
not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness,
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Sequence Victimae Paschali Laudes
Christians, to the Paschal Victim
Offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems;
Christ, who only is sinless,
Reconciles sinners to the Father.
Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous:
The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.
Speak, Mary, declaring
What you saw, wayfaring.
“The tomb of Christ, who is living,
The glory of Jesus’ resurrection;
bright angels attesting,
The shroud and napkin resting.
Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;
to Galilee he goes before you.”
Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning! Amen. Alleluia.

Alleluia 1 Cor 5:7b-8a
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed;
let us then feast with joy in the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel I: He Saw and He Believed. 
Mary Magdalene and the apostles were upset to find the tomb empty. But first John, then the others, realized that Jesus was risen from the dead. Thus they strengthen our faith in the Risen Lord.

John 20:1-9
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.

Gospel II: They Recognized the Lord at the Breaking of Bread. 
[May be used at Sunday evening Masses]:
Every Christian goes on the road of Emmaus with the Risen Lord; we grope to understand his word, his presence is hidden and recognizable only by faith, he nourishes us with the Eucharist. Are we eager to proclaim his Good News?

Luke 24:13-35 
That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus’ disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them,
“What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”
They said to him,
“The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning
and did not find his body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the eleven and those with them who were saying,
“The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted
what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.

Commentary:

Some thirty-seven years before today, a child was born in a cave in Bethlehem. The shepherds came to the cave. They saw him and believed. The magi came from different places following the star. They too saw him and believed. His presence confirmed his existence. But today, Mary Magdalene, Peter and the “other disciple” come running. They find an absence. The emptiness of the cave. Has there ever been an event where the absence of a person guaranteed his or her existence? If ever there was one, here is the most perfect one. The emptiness of the cave hits them. They see the absence and believe in his existence. Good News! Perhaps it is when we can’t find God in our lives at certain moments that He is most alive and present to us. Let us feel the absence and believe. May Christ Easter in us all!

Blessing
Christ has made us all new
by rising from the dead.
May we live like risen people
who have encountered the Lord
in his Word, at his table,
in one another.
May we bring his life and hope
to all those around us.
May almighty God bless you all
with his strength, his compassion,
his self-giving love:
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.

And share the love and joy of Christ
with one another. Alleluia! Alleluia!!

R/ Thanks be to God. Alleluia! Alleluia!!

 

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