CACINA

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on April 12, 2009

Gospel reading of the day:

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.

Reflection on the gospel reading: Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen, even as he said! Alleluia! Happy Easter to you!

I always have loved best the resurrection accounts in the Gospel of John. There is something immediate and present in them, something of, “I was right there, and this is what it was like.” The account we have in this morning’s gospel compares and contrasts the respective experiences and reactions of Peter and the beloved disciples to the empty tomb. When Peter enters the tomb this morning, he experiences a loss: the body of the Lord is missing. He experiences a loss because he sees the empty tomb through the prism of his grief. But as a counterpoint, when the beloved disciple enters the tomb, he sees and believes, because he perceives the empty tomb not through the prism of his grief but through the prism of his love for Jesus.

The Lord whom we now celebrate in the Easter narratives is the living Lord who is the same now as he was on the first day of resurrection. The Lord whom we know through our communities, our prayer, the word, and our service is the resurrected Lord: we are entering familiar turf. Let us then strive to love the Lord, for blessed are we, just like the beloved disciple that first Easter morning, who have not seen yet believe, because we see the empty tomb through the prism of our love for Jesus.

Easter: The main sources which directly attest the fact of Christ’s Resurrection are the four gospels and the Epistles of Paul. Easter morning is so rich in incident, and so crowded with interested persons, that its complete history presents a rather complicated tableau. It is not surprising, therefore, that the partial accounts contained in each of the four gospels appear at first sight hard to harmonize. But whatever exegetic view as to the visit to the sepulcher by the women and the appearance of the angels we may defend, we cannot deny the evangelists’ agreement as to the fact that the risen Jesus appeared to one or more persons.

According to Matthew, he appeared to the holy women, and again on a mountain in Galilee; according to longer versions of Mark, he was seen by Mary Magdalen, by the two disciples at Emmaus, and the Eleven before he ascended into heaven; according to Luke, he walked with the disciples to Emmaus and appeared to Peter and to the assembled disciples in Jerusalem; according to John, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalen, to the ten Apostles on Easter Sunday, to the Eleven a week later, and to the seven disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. Paul (1 Cor 14:3-8) enumerates another series of apparitions of Jesus after his Resurrection; he was seen by Cephas, by the Eleven, by more than 500 brethren, many of whom were still alive at the time of the Apostle’s writing, by James, by all the Apostles, and lastly by Paul himself.

Briefly, therefore, the fact of Christ’s Resurrection is attested by more than 500 eyewitnesses, whose experience, simplicity, and uprightness of life rendered them incapable of inventing such a fable, who lived at a time when any attempt to deceive could have been easily discovered, who had nothing in this life to gain, but everything to lose by their testimony, whose moral courage exhibited in their apostolic life can be explained only by their intimate conviction of the objective truth of their message. Again the fact of Christ’s Resurrection is attested by the eloquent silence of the Synagogue which had done everything to prevent deception, which could have easily discovered deception, if there had been any, which opposed only sleeping witnesses to the testimony of the Apostles, which did not punish the alleged carelessness of the official guard, and which could not answer the testimony of the Apostles except by threatening them “that they speak no more in this name to any man” (Acts 4:17). Finally, the thousands, both Jews and Gentiles, who believed the testimony of the apostles in spite of all the disadvantages following from such a belief, in short the origin of the Church, requires for its explanation the reality of Jesus’ Resurrection, for the rise of the Church without the Resurrection would have been a greater miracle than the Resurrection itself.

Spiritual reading: Come you all: enter into the joy of your Lord. You the first and you the last, receive alike your reward; you rich and you poor, dance together; you sober and you weaklings, celebrate the day;

you who have kept the fast and you who have not, rejoice today. The table is richly loaded: enjoy its royal banquet. The calf is a fatted one: let no one go away hungry. (Easter Homily by John Crysostom)

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Michael said, on April 13, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    “He bore our death and slew it
    out of the abundance of His own Life…
    And He departed from our sight
    that we might return to our hearts and find Him there.
    He departed, and behold, He is here.”
    + Saint Augustine

    “Jesus came forth from the dead and then ascended
    to open the gates of heaven for us…
    Is any one of us rushing into that kingdom ?!
    We are called to be free,
    to know that in our worst moments of human failure
    we are deeply loved by a forgiving God.”
    + Saint Mychal Judge

    Christ is Risen! Alleluia!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: