Easter Sunday

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Easter of Resurrection


First Reading

Acts 10,34.37-43

Then Peter addressed them, 'I now really understand', he said, 'that God has no favourites, You know what happened all over Judaea, how Jesus of Nazareth began in Galilee, after John had been preaching baptism. God had anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and because God was with him, Jesus went about doing good and curing all who had fallen into the power of the devil. Now we are witnesses to everything he did throughout the countryside of Judaea and in Jerusalem itself: and they killed him by hanging him on a tree, yet on the third day God raised him to life and allowed him to be seen, not by the whole people but only by certain witnesses that God had chosen beforehand. Now we are those witnesses -- we have eaten and drunk with him after his resurrection from the dead- and he has ordered us to proclaim this to his people and to bear witness that God has appointed him to judge everyone, alive or dead. It is to him that all the prophets bear this witness: that all who believe in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name.'

Psalmody

Psalm 117

Antiphon

Eternal is the mercy of the Lord.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good,
for his love endures for ever.

Let the sons of Israel say :
'His love endures for ever.'

Let the sons of Aaron say :
'His love endures for ever.'

Let those who fear the Lord say :
'His love endures for ever.'

I called the Lord in my distress;
he answered and feed me.

The Lord is at my side; I do not fear.
What can man do against m?

The Lord is at my side as my helper:
I shall look down on my foes.

It is better to take refuge in the lord
than to trust in men:

It is better to take refuge in the lord
than to trust in prices.

The nations all encompassed me;
in the lord's name I crushed them.

They compassed me, compassed me about;
in the Lord's name I crushed them.

They compassed me about like bees;
they blazed like a fire among thorns.
In the Lord's name I crushed them.

I was thrust down, thrust down and falling
but the Lord was my helper.

The Lord is my strength and my song;
he was my saviour.

There are shouts of joy and victory
in the tents of the just.

The Lord's right hand has triumphed;
his right hand raised me.

The Lord's right hand had triumphed;
I shall not die, I shall live
and recount his deed.

I was punished, I was punished by the Lord,
but not doomed to die.

Open to me the gates of holiness :
I will enter and give thanks.

This is the Lord's own gates
where the just may enter.

I will thank you for you have answered
and you are my saviour.

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the corner stone.

This is the work of the Lord,
a marvel in our eyes.

This day was made by the Lord;
we rejoice and are glad.

O Lord, grant us salvation;
O Lord, grant success.

Blessed in the name of the Lord
is he who comes

We bless you from the house of the Lord;
the Lord God is our light.

Go forward in procession with branches
even to the altar.

You are my God, I thank you.
My God, I praise you.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his love endures forever.

Second Reading

Colossians 3,1-4

Since you have been raised up to be with Christ, you must look for the things that are above, where Christ is, sitting at God's right hand. Let your thoughts be on things above, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed -- and he is your life-you, too, will be revealed with him in glory.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Christ is risen from the dead
and will die no more.
He awaits us in Galilee!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 20,1-9

It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. 'They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,' she said, 'and we don't know where they have put him.' So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter, following him, also came up, went into the tomb, saw the linen cloths lying on the ground and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed. Till this moment they had still not understood the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Christ is risen from the dead
and will die no more.
He awaits us in Galilee!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

We reached Easter after following Jesus in his last days of life. The Gospel of Easter starts from this extreme limit, from the dark night. The evangelist John writes that "it was still dark" when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. It was dark even in the heart of that woman; it was the darkness of sadness and fear. Mary was going to the tomb with a sad heart.
As soon as Mary reached the tomb, she saw, at the entrance, that the stone, heavy as every death and every departure, had been rolled away. She immediately ran to Peter and John: "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb." And she added, "We do not know where they have laid him." Mary's sadness for the loss of the Lord, even of his dead body, questions our coldness and forgetfulness of even the living Jesus. Only with her feelings in our heart can we meet the risen Lord. Mary and her desperation moved Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved and they "ran" to the empty tomb. Their race expresses well the anxiety every disciple, every community that seeks the Lord. Perhaps we too need to start running again. Easter means also haste. John, the disciple of love, reaches the tomb first: love makes us run faster and await the faith of Peter who was following him. Peter enters the tomb first and observed the perfect order: the linen wrappings were in their place as emptied of Jesus' body and the cloth that had been on Jesus' head "rolled up in a place by itself." There had been no tampering nor snatching: it was as if Jesus had freed himself. There had been no need to unbind his bandages as for Lazarus. Then also the other disciple entered and "saw" the same scene, "he saw and believed," says the Gospel. They were in front of the signs of the Resurrection and they allowed their hearts to be moved.
For until then, the evangelist continues, they "did not [yet] understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead." This is often our life: a life without Resurrection and without Easter, a life that is hopeless in front of the great sorrows and tragedies of humanity. Easter came, the tomb opened. The Lord has defeated death and lives forever. We cannot remain closed as if the Gospel of the Resurrection was not proclaimed to us. The Gospel is resurrection; it is being born to a new life. The Gospel must be shouted on the rooftops, it must be proclaimed to the hearts so that they may open to the Lord. Thus, this Easter cannot pass in vain! The apostle writes: "For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Col 3:3). Our life is involved in the risen Jesus and it is made part of his victory over death and evil. The entire world with its pains and expectations will enter our hearts together with the risen in the same way he shows himself to his disciples with the wounds still present in his body so that we may cooperate with him to the birth of a new heaven and of a new earth where there no grief nor tears nor death nor sadness, for God will be everything in all.