The Resurrection of the Lord
The Mass of Easter Sunday
Background: The Jewish authorities had asked Pilate to secure the tomb of Christ against possible removal of his body by his followers. They had even placed a seal on the stone blocking the entrance to the tomb (See Mt. 27:62-66).
All these precautions proved useless when God’s power reawakened the dead body of Christ. The seals were shattered, the guards fled, (see Mt 28:2.11) and the tomb was left empty as the first “sign” that Jesus was no longer dead. On the part of the disciples, the discovery of the empty tomb was the first step in their journey of faith in the Resurrection.
All four Evangelists are solid in the presentation of the empty tomb as:
1. Historical fact, which is
2. the work of God, and not of men (see Mt 28:1-7, Mk 16:1-6, Lk 24:1-6; and Jn 20:1-7)
Introduction: In today’s passage the author tells us how Mary Magdalene discovered that Jesus’ body was no longer in the tomb. He also tells us how Peter and John reacted when they were able to verify Mary’s report. In them the Church began the process of coming to believe in the reality of the Resurrection before she became its herald to the whole world.
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.
First day of the week: (v.1) This phrase indicates Sunday, not Monday. For the Jews, in fact, the week ended with the Sabbath, the day of rest. Jesus rose on “the first day of the week” or the day after the “great Sabbath” in which the Jews observed their Passover. The Church has transferred the day of rest and rejoicing to the day after the Sabbath or “the first day of the week” (Sunday) because it was on that day that Jesus inaugurated the real Passover from death to a glorius life.
The other disciple (v.7): This unnamed disciple mentioned in the Gospel of St. John is John himself, the apostle and evangelist, the author of the Fourth Gospel. He does not use his name, out of humility.
Historical Background: For centuries the Israelites had considered themselves the privileged (and almost the sole) recipients of God’s favors and salvation. In the beginning, even the disciples of Jesus shared this conviction. Eventually, however, the Holy Spirit led them to realize that the pagans are also called to share in the blessings of Christ’s salvation. Thus, the young Church opened its doors to the non-Jews by preaching to them the Gospel message (Kerygma), with the view to leading them to the faith.
Introduction: In today’s passage we have the first proclamation of the Good News addressed by Peter to non-Jews- the Roman centurion Cornelius and his household. This proclamation contains:
1. a synthesis of Jesus’ life (see vv. 37-41); and
2. a profession of faith in his messiahship (see vv: 38a and 42-43)
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.”
Background: All early Christians knew very well the fundamental role of the sufferings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in their salvation. It was in him and through his blood that their sins had been forgiven. (See Eph 1:7) They also knew that a person partakes of Christ’s salvation through Baptism, the immersion in water and the Spirit, which makes him/her share in his death and resurrection.
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.
The right hand of God (v.1): Sharing in the Father’s divine power and authority.
Hibla/Thread Message: BE A WITNESS THAT CHRIST IS ALIVE!
Application: Rejoice and Live Life in anticipation in The Life that is to come.
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