Easter Sunday, April 9, 2023
Acts of the Apostles 10:34a, 37-43, Colossians 3:1-4,
1 Corinthians 5:6b-8, John 20:1-9
[Please Note: There are various sets of readings for Easter, depending upon what Mass you attend. The readings described herein are those for Easter Day, as opposed to the readings for the Easter Vigil or for Easter Sunday afternoon.]
Our first reading today is actually from the New Testament - The Acts of the Apostles to be exact. We will be hearing from this book periodically for a number of weeks, as we get a thumbnail sketch of what life was like in the early days of the church, following the resurrection of the Lord.
In this passage, we find St. Peter giving a brief overview of the earthly ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. And Peter goes on to tell how Jesus commissioned the disciples to “spread the word, far and wide” about why this message is important for the whole world to hear. One of the most important points is Peter’s assertion that all who believe, both Jews and Gentiles, are welcome in this group that came to be known as the first Christians.
The second and third readings today are both from the Letters of St. Paul. One is addressed to the Colossians and the other to the Corinthians. You will only hear one of these, depending upon what Mass you attend. In the letter to the Colossians, Paul urges the listener to concentrate on what we are to be preparing for in this life - that is, the world to come. Don’t fixate on life on this earth, as if it is the only thing that matters. Rather, it is a preparation time for eternal life, which comes after we are finished here.
The next reading, from First Corinthians, has a similar theme, as Paul recommends that we clear away - get rid of - our old habits, If they have distracted us from living for the Lord. Rather, we should strive to establish new habits, based on sincerity and truth. These new habits will help us prepare for our everlasting life.
The gospel is filled with emotion and with new insight. Through a process of visiting the tomb, finding it empty, eventually realizing that Jesus’ body was not stolen (since thieves would not have taken such care in rolling up the burial head piece) they finally understand that Jesus has risen from the dead. This, now, was enough to convince them that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. After 2000 years of hearing this marvelous story told, we can sometimes take it for granted. When we do that, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to imagine what a phenomenal realization this must have been for the first disciples. All of a sudden, all the pieces were coming together. The puzzle was starting to make sense; the mission of the disciples was taking shape.
In these incredible moments, early on Easter morning, Mary Magdalene, Peter, and the other disciple (perhaps John?) grasped the meaning of what the past three years of Jesus’ earthly ministry were all about. Now, 2000 years later, we can study with amazement what happened during those three years, and what has happened since. For me, one of the most important lessons of this - Easter Sunday - is: Never forget, and never take for granted what God will do in order to demonstrate his love for us!…….May you have a blessed and joyous Easter!
by: Bill Miller