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Easter Sunday

First Reading: Acts 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.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23

R. (24) This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
“The right hand of the LORD has struck with power;
the right hand of the LORD is exalted.
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.”
R. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
R. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.

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.

NAB

easter sunday

As I sit to write this, my grandfather is dying. I vacillate between sadness about his departure from this earth and joy that he will soon be free from suffering and meeting His Savior face­to­face. Visiting the tomb after Christ’s death, I get the impression that Jesus’ disciples are undergoing similar feelings after losing Him: sorrow at His absence, but hope in His promises for the future.

Jesus is no longer in the tomb ­­ but where has He gone? “Death no longer has power over Him.” (Romans 6:9)

This great fact gives us so much hope for the future. Death is not the end. Death does not have the final word. It is the entrance into eternal life (!), where one day, too, our bodies will be rejoined with our souls, resurrected for all eternity.

Christ’s victory over death has made this possible.

It is hard to have faith in the midst of suffering. It is difficult to see joy through the pain. “The other disciple whom Jesus loved” chose to see with the eyes of faith. He chose to allow the glory of the Resurrection to surpass the suffering he witnessed just a few days earlier. He sprinted to the tomb eagerly and believed instantly upon seeing it empty.

Of course, if Jesus was not there, He must have risen as He said! Alleluia!

It is not easy to readily jump to this conclusion sometimes. When we see pain and suffering, when we watch our loved ones pass away, it is so much easier to question, ­Why aren’t you here, Lord? Where is your mercy? Why do you take the ones I love away from me?

But He is there, although we may not see Him. His mercy is in the promise revealed hereafter. We must leave this earth in order to fully grasp it, ­­to rest completely in His Love, ­­to be lifted up with Him.

Witnessing my grandfather’s suffering through his final earthly moments, I, too, cling to Christ’s promise of victory, of resurrection. The veil between Heaven and earth is thin now and, although I cannot see to the other side, I firmly trust that Christ is waiting there to welcome him home, to raise him up on the last day.

The JOY is in the Resurrection. Pray to see that empty tomb with the eyes of faith.

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and Hallelujah is our song.” ~Pope Saint John Paul II

Are you ready to take the leap of faith with “the other disciple whom Jesus loved”? If not, what is holding you back?

photo credit

Laurel Muff is a creator and appreciator of beautiful things. She resides with her husband and daughters in Northern California. You can find more about her here.

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