Easter Day Mass-Cycle A-2017
FIRST READING Acts of the Apostles 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.
SECOND READING Colossians 3:1-4
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.
GOSPEL John 20:1-9
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.
My sisters and brothers in the Lord,
Christ is risen, alleluia! “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.”
Christ is truly risen! You and I must be witnesses also to these facts: Jesus lived among us and was killed and really died. God raised him from the dead! Jesus is God and Lord of all.
The Acts of the Apostles, from where the first reading is taken, challenges us on this Easter Day: Be witnesses to the Lord. The second reading, from the Letter to the Colossians, tells us “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above.” We humans, even after we believe and are baptized, still find ourselves sinning. We don’t always seek the things that are above. The hold of pleasure, of power and of money seems to draw us away from seeking that which is above.
Yet, God continues to seek us out in mercy and love. This is why the Father sent the Son and why the Holy Spirit constantly is drawing us back to God. We celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus because Jesus died for us and was raised for us. We die in our sins but Jesus is always raising us. Christ is risen. Alleluia.
The Gospel, from John at this Mass, tells us again the confusion, the surprise, the challenge to faith of those first believers. In the Gospels, it is the women who are faithful. They are the ones who stay with Jesus at the Cross and they are the ones who go to the tomb. The women are the first to believe. The women are those who recognize the Lord.
Still, in this Gospel of John, we see Peter and John running to the tomb after getting word from Mary of Magdala. John runs more quickly but does not go in. He waits for Peter. Peter goes in and sees various things in the tomb. That is all that is said about Peter. John goes is and believes.
We are invited to follow these women and these apostles and allow their witness to draw us to faith. Christ is risen! Our own faith is received from others, either directly from people in our lives, or from reading that which has been written by others. Wherever we are in our faith, may this day of the Resurrection of Jesus become more real for us and draw us into the mystery of God’s love for us. Christ is risen. Alleluia.
Your brother in the Lord,