Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday
April 24, 2011
Acts 10:34, 37-43; Psalm 118; Colossians 3:1-4 (or 1 Cor. 5:6-8); John 20:1-9
He is Risen! Alleluia!

Waking up on Easter morning does not automatically bring about great joy for all Christians. We recognize that the resurrection is not a magical event brought about by God at midnight on Holy Saturday, but that news of the resurrection reaches the faithful ones at different times based on where one is with one's relationship with Jesus. For some people, Lent and sorrow continues. For others, the fullness of the mystery unfolds slowly. We hear about the differing ways the disciples came to experience that God raised Jesus from the dead.

Of all the disciples, Mary of Magdala gives us the first example of struggling to understand the resurrection. She is the first to the tomb and her faith is still in darkness. She saw the stone removed from the tomb and went to tell the others that the body of Jesus was taken, presumably by "The Jews." Though only her name is mentioned, she tells the disciples "we don't know where they put him." Presumably she was not alone. Mary was one of the women standing at the foot of the cross to witness the death of Jesus. She is a witness to the facts of the story, but also an illustration of a person who is in darkness (life without faith) and comes to the light (belief in Jesus and the power of the resurrection.) She has loved Jesus well during his earthly ministry.

After Mary tells the others, Peter runs to the tomb. Alongside him is the beloved disciple who arrives at the tomb first because of his exemplary love for Jesus. He delays entering the tomb and allows Peter to go in first. The beloved disciple's affirmation of faith is the climax of the visit. He is set in contrast to Peter who sees the burial cloths neatly arranged that indicates the body of Jesus was not stolen. Peter does not yet comprehend what had happened while the beloved disciple knew in his heart that Jesus was raised from the dead. Until Jesus' glorification, the disciples will not be able to remember and understand the significance of the events that just occurred. In the Fourth Gospel, Jesus' mission is completed only in his return to the Father and the glory he had "before the foundation of the world." The Spirit comes when Jesus has been glorified.

We encounter Mary Magdalene as afraid, Peter as perplexed, and the beloved disciple is able to perceive the truth of the resurrection events immediately. Everything will be understood in due time. We are to be patient and to embrace the feelings that we have now. It is in our struggling with our emotions that we can engage the assault on our reason as the disciples did. The resurrection becomes personally meaningful to us when we wrestle with the ways Jesus Christ continues to be present to us presently. Let's give him a little space each day to let us know that he remembers us and comes back to be with us. This man, Jesus, who was brutally and unjustly killed, did so in order that we will be brought closing to the heart of our saving God. As he appears to us, let us thank him for being faithful to his Father and for bringing our needs to God. He wants to continue his ministry of consoling us and sharing the joy of his victory over sin and death. It is indeed a happy day. God has saved us.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: We follow the Acts of the Apostles in the Easter octave. Peter stands up on Pentecost to proclaim to Jews in Jerusalem that Jesus of Nazareth who they put to death has been vindicated by God and raised to new life. When the Jews realize the significance of their actions, they petition Peter to be baptized in the name of Jesus. Peter and John heal the crippled man at "the Beautiful Gate" at the temple. All who witnessed it recognized that the man used to be the crippled beggar. Peter and John preach to the Jews gathered at Solomon's portico and tell them all that the prophets and scripture say about Jesus. The priests, temple guards, and the Sadducees confront Peter and John and hold them in custody. The religious authorities question their teaching and healing power. The Sanhedrin dismissed them with instructions not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Peter, John, and the healed man persevere in their boldness. The Sanhedrin wait to see if this is of God or of another source of power.

Gospel: In Matthew, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary meet Jesus on the way and he exhorts them not to be afraid. The chief priests hire soldiers to say, "the disciples came and stole the body of Jesus." In John, Magdalene weeps outside the tomb and thinks Jesus is the gardener, until he speaks to her familiarly. In Luke, two disciples heading towards Emmaus meet Jesus along the way and he opens the scripture for them. As they recount their story to the Eleven, Jesus appears before them, beckons them not to be afraid, and eats with them. In John, six disciples are with Peter as they fish at the Sea of Tiberius. After a frustrating night of fishing, Jesus instructs them to cast their nets wide and they catch 153 large fish. The beloved disciple recognized the man on the beach as the Lord and they rush to meet him. In Mark, Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene who told the Eleven about him. Two other disciples on the road returned to speak of their encounter, and then Jesus appears to them while they were at table.

Saints of the Week

No saints are remembered during the Easter octave.

This Week in Jesuit History

·         Apr 24, 1589. At Bordeaux, the Society was ordered to leave the city. It had been falsely accused of favoring the faction which was opposed to King Henry III.
·         Apr 25, 1915. Pierre Rousselot, Professor at the Institute Catholique in Paris, is wounded and taken prisoner during World War I.
·         Apr 26, 1935. Lumen Vitae, center for catechetics and religious formation was founded in Brussels.
·         Apr 27, 1880. On the occasion of the visit of Jules Ferry, French minister of education, to Amiens, France, shouts were raised under the Jesuit College windows: "Les Jesuites a la guillotine."
·         Apr 28, 1542. St Ignatius sent Pedro Ribadeneira, aged fifteen, from Rome to Paris for his studies. Pedro had been admitted into the Society in l539 or l540.
·         Apr 29, 1933. Thomas Ewing Sherman died in New Orleans. An orator on the mission band, he was the son of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman. He suffered a breakdown, and wanted to leave the Society, but was refused because of his ill health. Before his death he renewed his vows in the Society.
·         Apr 30, 1585. The landing at Osaka of Fr. Gaspar Coelho. At first the Emperor was favorably disposed towards Christianity. This changed later because of Christianity's attitude toward polygamy.