Sunday Church at Home, Easter Sunday, Cycle C

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Easter Sunday, Cycle C

Jesus Christ is Risen Today

The lay leader makes the sign of the cross, saying:

Leader:          In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All reply:        Amen

Leader:          Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

All reply:        Blessed be God for ever

Leader:          Easter Sunday is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, but it also celebrates the unexpected messengers who testify to the truth of our amazing God.

LITURGY OF THE WORD

First Reading: Acts 10:34a.37-43

Introduction to the reading: The Apostle Peter was originally skeptical about preaching the Gospel to non-Jews, but one day, the Holy Spirit summoned him to preach to a Gentile – the pagan army officer Cornelius and his household.  Today’s passage is a portion of Peter’s sermon, which summarizes the life and ministry of Jesus.

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles

In those days:
Peter opened his mouth and said:
“You know the word which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and with power;
how he went about doing good
and healing all that were oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.
And we are witnesses to 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,
but God raised him on the third day and made him manifest;
not to all the people
but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses,
who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
And he commanded us to preach to the people,
and to testify that he is the one ordained by God
to be judge of the living and the dead.
To him, all the prophets bear witness
that everyone who believes in him
receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 118:1-2.15c-17.22-23 (R. 24)

Let us now pray the Responsorial Psalm:

R/. This is the day the Lord has made;
            let us rejoice in it and be glad.

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

“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty deeds;
his right hand is exalted.
The Lord’s right hand has done mighty deeds.”
I shall not die, I shall live
and recount the deeds of the Lord

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the Lord has this been done,
a marvel in our eyes.

R/. This is the day the Lord has made;
            let us rejoice in it and be glad.

Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-4

Introduction to the reading: The letter to the Colossians depicts Christ as the only mediator between God and the world.  A previous passage of the letter presented baptism as the way we are united with Christ.  The author will today remind us of the heights to which Christ has raised us, and they call upon us to live up to this.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Colossians.

Brothers and Sisters:
If you have been raised with Christ,
seek the things that are above,
where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things that are above,
not on things that are on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ who is our life appears,
then you also will appear with him in glory.

The word of the Lord.

The Sequence proclaims our Easter joy. It may be read by the reader:

Sequence

To the Paschal Victim let Christians offer a sacrifice of praise.

The Lamb redeemed the sheep.
Christ, sinless, reconciled sinners to the Father.

Death and life were locked together in a unique struggle.
Life’s captain died; now he reigns, never more to die.

Tell us, Mary, “What did you see on the way?”

“I saw the tomb of the now living Christ.
I saw the glory of Christ, now risen.

“I saw angels who gave witness;
the cloths too which once had covered head and limbs.

“Christ my hope has arisen.
He will go before His own into Galilee.”

We know that Christ has indeed risen from the dead.
Do you, conqueror and king, have mercy on us.
Amen. Alleluia.

Alleluia, Alleluia. 
Christ, our Paschal Lamb, has been sacrificed;
let us, therefore, celebrate the festival in the Lord.
Alleluia.

Gospel: John 20:1-9

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.

On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark,
and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.
So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple,
the one whom Jesus loved,
and said to them,
“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,
and we do not know where they have laid him.”

Peter then came out with the other disciple,
and they went towards the tomb.
They both ran,
but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first,
and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there,
but he did not go in.
Then Simon Peter came, following him,
and went into the tomb;
he saw the linen cloths lying,
and the napkin, which had been on his head,
not lying with the linen cloths
but rolled up in a place by itself.
Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in,
and he saw and believed;
for as yet they did not know the scripture,
that he must rise from the dead.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection on the Readings

The leader reads the text prepared by the priest and leads the sharing.

Since February, the Russian invasion of the Ukraine has dominated the news media in Western countries. The other wars happening around the world don’t seem to get a mention. Each day brings news of some fresh atrocity in the Ukraine. On the 11th April, over 300mm of rain fell on Kwazulu-Natal in a 24 hour period – triggering floods and landslides and the death of nearly 400 people. Thousands of families are have been affected.  Our hearts go out to all affected by the floods and we all need to strive to help where we can. In the midst of all this bad news, we also celebrate good news – Jesus has risen from the dead!

When there is big news, we hear about it for a few days or more until the next story comes along. But because Jesus’ resurrection is such big news, we will celebrate it in a particular way for the next fifty days during the entire Easter Season. We spend the next seven weeks unraveling the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection for our lives and the Church.

We see Jesus’ resurrection symbolized by the Paschal Candle lit during every Mass throughout these next fifty days until Pentecost. It was first lit last night during the Easter Vigil to symbolize Jesus’ resurrection.

During every Mass until Pentecost, we will read a portion of the Acts of the Apostles which shows us the effects of Jesus’ resurrection spreading out as the Church grows and grows and spreads and spreads. When you throw a stone into a pond, the ripples from the impact spread out and out. During the next seven weeks we will see the impact of Jesus’ resurrection spreading out more and more.

Today  we heard Peter witnessing that he ate and drank with Jesus after Jesus rose from the dead. What really matters in life? Having Jesus in our life is what is most important. Peter reminds us:

“To Jesus, all the prophets bear witness
that everyone who believes in him
receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

So really, nothing else matters but Jesus.

We see a similar point in our second reading from the letter to the Colossians:

“If you have been raised with Christ,
seek the things that are above,
where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

We hear many proposals about life, many suggestions about how to live and conduct our lives. There are many ideologies all around us. There is one answer to how we are to live our lives. There is one bright light shining in the darkness and that is the light of Jesus whose Paschal Candle lit up the darkness in this church last night.

There are partial answers all around, and many false and misleading answers, but there is only one answer that is the Truth, and that is Jesus, and his resurrection proves it. Jesus is the only one who has risen. He is the only one with true answers to our questions about life and the meaning of life and how to live.

Jesus’ words are the most important words of all time in the entire world. So anyone looking for answers to questions about life and the meaning of life and what to do with one’s life ought to look to Jesus’ words for the answer.

We read the Bible to discover the word of God. The Bible is a complex collection of different kinds of writings. It requires much study to encounter the Word of God. We know it is God’s word when reading Scripture leads us to experiencing the love of God and sharing that love with our neighbour.

The four Gospels – Mathew, Mark, Luke and John – give us four different experiences of Jesus. They contain Jesus’ words which is why we give the Gospels special importance. In Jesus we experience the love of God. Jesus calls us to respond to the world with love and integrity.

Jesus’ resurrection the biggest good news story of all time. It is news that we will continue to celebrate, specially for the next seven weeks of Easter. It is news that shows us we have to listen to Jesus for the truth to questions about our meaning and purpose in life.

Jesus’ resurrection is only the beginning. Before his death, he was in Galilee and Judea but since his resurrection he is with us in every place and in every time. The empty tomb in our Gospel today (John 20:1-9) tells us the body of Jesus was not there.

We do not look into an empty tomb for the evidence of the resurrection of Jesus. We look to the experience of his friends and followers. The first witness to the Resurrection was a woman – Mary Magdalene. Jesus appeared many times to his apostles and disciples during the next days.

Those who come to daily Mass this week will enjoy a real treat as they listen to a different account of Jesus’ resurrection every day. One of the things Jesus taught after his resurrection is that the place to look for him is Mass.

On the road to Emmaus, he walked with the two disciples but they did not recognize him at first because his body was different after his resurrection. He explained the Scriptures to them, and they recognized him at the breaking of bread. It was exactly what happens at every Mass. We listen to the Scriptures, they are explained to us, and we meet Jesus in the Eucharist.

Not only does Jesus’ resurrection show that he is the true answer to all our questions, but the risen Jesus shows us that he continues to be present with us after his resurrection in the sacraments.

If we want to meet Jesus, we can. We can meet him in his sacraments. We became part of Jesus’ Church when we were baptized and he poured out the Holy Spirit on us once again when we were confirmed. He gave the apostles the authority to forgive sins. When we want forgiveness from Jesus, we can go to confession to the priest and there we meet Jesus, and God forgives us.

When we are ill, the priest anoints us with the Oil of the Sick and we meet Jesus. When a couple express their love for each other by committing their lives into each other’s keeping in the Sacrament of Matrimony, Jesus is there. 

The big news of the empty tomb in our Gospel today tells us the body of Jesus was not there. Our faith helps us to experience his presence. Jesus is in the Church and still with us, and we can meet him every time we receive the sacraments and every time we read  and pray with his words in the Gospels.  Today, and every day we turn to Jesus, our Risen Lord.

Happy Easter!

From today’s Gospel:

“Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in,
and he saw and believed;
for as yet they did not know the scripture,
that he must rise from the dead.”

We ask ourselves:

  • What does the Resurrection mean for me?
  • Mary Magdalene was the first witness to the Resurrection. How can I be a witness for the Risen Lord?

Prayer of the Faithful

Leader:          Jesus has risen from the tomb. The cross was not the end but, rather, the beginning of new life. Today is a day for hope and so we bring our prayers before our heavenly Father, knowing that God’s love is beyond anything we can ever imagine.

Reader:

We pray for Pope Francis: (pause)

may he be a living symbol of Easter joy and a sign of hope to our world.

LORD HEAR US

We pray for everyone who is searching for meaning in life: (pause)  may they discover the goodness and beauty of the people they meet and, with their support, open the door to new life and joy.

LORD HEAR US

We pray for all who are affected by the floods in Kwazulu-Natal: that God will guide them to safety, give them hope, and touch the hearts of many to welcome, support and provide relief for them.

LORD HEAR US.

We pray for families who are struggling to make ends meet: (pause)

may they find the support that they need in order to nurture a secure, happy and loving life together.

LORD HEAR US

We pray for our parish family: (pause)

may we value each other, build a supportive, loving community and be a living message of peace and hope to the people around us.

LORD HEAR US

We pray for all those who were received into the Church at the Easter Vigil: (pause) that the joy of the resurrection may fill their hearts, guiding them into a new life of hope and joy.

LORD HEAR US

We pray for members of our families and friends who have died and those whose anniversaries occur about this time.

LORD HEAR US

We pray for Lorna Harding and Anne Dale who died during the week.
Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord.

And let perpetual light shine on them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

Leader:          Let us pray our Easter Prayer:

God of unending joy,

you have set us free from sin and death

through the rising of your Son,

our Lord Jesus Christ. 

In this season of renewed hope,

we rejoice and pray that throughout the year

we may be faithful to our baptismal promises. 

Help us to find hope all around us,

to believe in your mercy

even when we cannot see it,

and to proclaim your goodness to the world. 

We ask this through Christ our Risen Lord.

Amen. Alleluia.

Spiritual Communion

We can unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a spiritual Communion.

By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us. 

My Jesus, I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament. 
I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you. 
But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment, feed my soul spiritually. I unite myself to you now as I do when I receive you. Amen.

CONCLUDING RITE

Leader:          Let us pray to the Father in the words Jesus our Saviour gave us: 

All say:          Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen.

Leader:          God of undying life,
by your mighty hand
you raised up Jesus from the grave
and appointed him judge of the living and the dead.

Bestow upon those baptised into his death
the power flowing from his resurrection,
that we may proclaim near and far
the pardon and peace you give us.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, firstborn from the dead,
who lives with you now and always in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.

All:                  Amen.

Blessing

A leader who is a layperson, using no gesture, says:

Leader:          On this solemn feast of Easter,
having followed the Lord Jesus in his suffering,
we celebrate the joy of his resurrection.

May God the almighty bless us
and mercifully protect us from the peril of sin.
R. Amen.

May the God who restores us to eternal life
in the resurrection of Christ
complete in us the gift of immortality.
R. Amen.

Through the grace of Christ
may God lead us to the banquet of lasting joy.
R. Amen.

Leader:          May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Alleluia. Alleluia.

All:                  Amen. Alleluia. Alleluia.

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