Readings Easter Sunday, 8th April, Cycle A

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Sunday, 8th April, 2023
Easter Sunday
Readings on p.432 of the Daily Missal and p.240 of the Sunday Missal

Entrance Antiphon
I have risen, and I am with you still, alleluia. You have laid your hand upon me, alleluia. Too wonderful for me, this knowledge, alleluia, alleluia.

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

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

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

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.

Please stand for the Gospel

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

Homile

Joseph of Arimathaea was a very wealthy Pharisee, a member of the Council, and a secret follower of Jesus. 

  • It was Joseph who went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body after the crucifixion. 
  • And it was Joseph who supplied the tomb for Jesus’ burial. 
  • I wonder if someone pulled him aside and said, “Joseph that was such beautiful, costly, hand-hewn tomb. Why on earth did you give it to someone who has been crucified to be buried in?”  
  • “Why not?” Joseph may have answered.  “He only needed it for the weekend.”

Jesus is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!

  • Jesus is risen not just for himself but for all of us. 
  • Jesus rose from the dead to prove that he is our Saviour. 
  • Mary Magdalene discovered Jesus’ tomb empty on Easter Sunday morning,
    • As she came to the tomb, she probably was feeling desolate and numb all over. She had seen him die on the cross. 
  • Before she met Jesus, Mary Magdalene was a mess, but her life was totally transformed after meeting Jesus.
    • She had some severe illness and Jesus fixed her life. 
    • After meeting Jesus, everything in her life was totally turned around and put in order. 
    • She became one of his followers, along with many other women and men followers besides the twelve apostles. 
  • I am sure we cannot imagine the emptiness she felt when she saw the tomb empty. 
  • Mary Magdalene probably thought, “They crucified him and now they will not even let him rest in death and they took his body away.”
    • The one who gave meaning to her life, and set her on the right path, was no more, and all her hopes were dashed. 
  • She ran to tell Peter and John that Jesus’ body had been taken from the tomb and she did not know where they had put him.
  • She went back again (John 20:11), as we see when we continue reading after today’s excerpt of the Gospel of John. 
  • She met someone whom she thought was a gardener but then recognized that it was Jesus. 
  • She did not recognize Jesus at first, because in his glorified body after his resurrection, Jesus looked different. 
  • Now, at last, the emptiness of that long weekend was filled. 
  • Jesus had risen although he was invisible to her during her first visit to the tomb that day. 
  • That is how it is with us also. 
  • Jesus is risen but invisible to us. 
  • Mary Magdalene saw Jesus looking very different when she returned to the tomb the second time,
    • and we also see Jesus looking very different in the form of consecrated bread and wine, the Body and Blood of Christ.

On Easter Sunday evening on the road to Emmaus, as soon as the two disciples leaving Jerusalem recognized Jesus at the breaking of the bread, Luke tells us Jesus vanished from their eyes (Luke 24:31). 

  • Luke does not say that Jesus went away or departed. 
  • What Luke really says in his Greek is that Jesus became invisible to the two disciples. 
  • In other words, Jesus was with them, but they could no longer see him. 
  • That is the way it is with us also. 
  • Jesus is with us, though we cannot see him, except when we see him in the Eucharist.

That was also how it was when Peter and John went to the tomb. 

  • We heard in the Gospel today that when John saw the empty tomb he believed (John 20:8). 
  • He had not yet met the risen Jesus but already he believed.
  • Thomas had refused to believe unless he could put his fingers into the wounds of the nails,
    • A week later, Jesus said to him, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” (John 20:29) 
  • Blessed was John who believed when he went to the tomb on Sunday morning even though he had not seen Jesus. 
  • Blessed are we who have not seen and yet believe. 
  • Jesus is with us though invisible to us.

During this time of power cuts and economic problems, or any tough time, it is good to remember that Jesus is with us though invisible to us. 

  • Jesus was, in effect, on his own during his agony in Gethsemane because the apostles went to sleep,
    • but if you ever go through some kind of agony in Gethsemane, 
    • like Mary Magdalene during her first visit to the tomb on Easter Sunday morning, 
    • you are not alone because Jesus is with you, beside you. 

The very last words of Jesus at the end of Matthew’s Gospel are, “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of time.” (Matt 28:20) 

  • Of course, above all, we are conscious of the presence of Jesus with us in the Eucharist as Jesus said in the synagogue in Capernaum,
    • Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. (John 6:53-56)

Of course it is enough to say, “Christ is risen!” and know that he has conquered death. 

  • It is enough to say that Jesus shows us what God has in store for all of us—eternal life—
  • Jesus not only told us this in his public ministry, but revealed it to us on Easter Sunday. 
  • These are life-changing truths.

But on a daily level, the Resurrection reminds us that no matter how bleak life may seem, things can change. 

  • Think of the disciples on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, cowering behind closed doors, certain that everything is over, and nothing good can happen. 
  • Easter shows us that suffering is never the last word and nothing is impossible with God. Nothing.

And that is something that should be proclaimed every day!

Jesus is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!

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