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Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

April 20, 2019

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Christ our paschal lamb has been sacrificed;
  Let us then feast with joy in the Lord.

Alleluia, Alleluia.


A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 20: 1-9

                                      The Empty Tomb

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.  

The Gospel of the Lord

REFLECTION by Monsignor Joseph Marino

The story of the empty tomb can be found in all three of the Synoptic Gospels according to Mark, Matthew and Luke, and therefore one could conclude that those Gospels influenced the version we heard today from the Gospel according to John.   However, Saint John provides his own unique perspective.  Unlike the Gospels that preceded him, John tells us that this Easter event took place while it was still dark.  For Saint John, darkness is not merely a matter of the amount of daylight.  His mention of darkness is more indicative of incomplete faith or a lack of faith!  Notice how this section ends: For they did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead.

All four Gospels agree that Mary of Magdala (our parish patron saint) was the first disciple at the tomb, and was the first evangelist or the first to proclaim the Gospel message that Jesus was no longer a prisoner in the tomb of death!  In fact the Church identifies her as the Apostle of Apostles.  We can be grateful that she is the saint assigned by the Bishop to watch over our parish.  Indeed, may God give us the courage to be an evangelist like her announcing to our community of Media and beyond that Jesus Christ is Risen!

Saint John, describing the events himself says that when he arrived at the tomb he saw and believed.  Yet, according to John’s own Gospel account, a fuller understanding of the scriptures that Jesus had to rise from the dead was forthcoming.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit disciples of every age grow in faith over time as they encounter the Risen Lord!  John saw the empty tomb and then embraced belief in the Resurrection of Jesus.  Through our encounter of the Risen Lord in the celebration of this Easter Eucharist may we continue to move from any darkness of doubt to the brightness of deeper faith!

How blessed we are to have the fullness of Sacred Scripture at our finger tips.  This Holy Week has provided an exceptional opportunity for us to probe deeply the Scriptures, passage after passage concerning Jesus’ death and the salvation won for us by the Cross of Christ!  It is by way of our careful reading and our daily meditation that we come to a fuller understanding that Jesus both fulfilled the Scriptures, and accomplished God’s desire to give the fullness of life and light to all who believe in his Son, Jesus Christ!

Christ is the fullness of Life and Light!   When we embraced Jesus through the grace of our Baptism, and encounter him through our weekly celebration of Sunday Mass, we are renewed and strengthened by his light, and consequently we can live by his lightEnlightenment comes from encountering the Risen Lord through Sacred Scripture and the Eucharist!  It is through Jesus Christ, The Word and The Sacrament that we grow in deeper faith and confidence in God. 

The following beautiful and encouraging words come from an ancient Easter homily:

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad!  And what is this day?  It is the Lord Jesus Christ himself, the author of light, who brings the sunrise and the beginning of life, saying of himself: I am the light of day; whoever walks in daylight does not stumble. That is to say, whoever follows Christ in all things will come by this path to the throne of eternal light.

                      Christ, our paschal lamb has been sacrificed;

                             Let us then feast with joy in the Lord



Monsignor Joseph Marino


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