Easter Sunday 2021
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Acts 10:34-43; Psalm 118; Colossians 3:1-4; Mark 16:1-7
This week I paid to God’s sadness as Jesus of Nazareth went to his death and lay in the tomb. God must have been heartbroken. Jesus had spoken all that he learned in prayer and he was put to death in a vile, humiliating manner. I asked to feel God’s vulnerability and to have compassion upon God as the events unfolded, and it was necessary to spend time in the tomb where the body of Jesus lay. Much can happen when we stay in the dark cave and just tend to his broken body. The two Mary’s and Salome knew that as they came early to anoint him and to give him the respect and dignity due to a child of God. They wanted to have compassion on him because we judge a society by how well we care for our beloved dead.
The three women are surprised when they arrive at the tomb and find the stone rolled back. When the young man tells him Jesus has been raised from the dead, they believe. They do not need to see his physical body. They don’t need to research the facts. They know this is possible with God. God transformed a painful moment into great beauty and victory. Because Jesus was faithful to God in all matters, God vindicated him and raised him up to a new sphere of life that was incomprehensible to human thought. The women understood, though. They knew God would have the last word, and they would soon realize that death would no longer threaten Jesus, that he could die no more, and was both with God and with us to let us know that he and God will care for us. God holds no grudges, even after we crucified Jesus, but continues to offer us friendship. This is a magnanimous, forgiving love.
The Resurrection each year offers us a new chance to put this forgiving love into action, and we can start by deepening our friendship with God through Jesus. Any true friendship is based upon mutual sharing, and we start by sharing our feelings with Jesus, who understands them well because he experienced them. We also listen to the feelings of Jesus, and today he wants to share with you his happiness for going to the cross for you, to let you know that his way of life made him victorious over the forces of the world and he wants to share that triumph with you. Nothing, not one thing that you have said or done, not hundreds of things that you have said or done, not any failing or poor choice, can make Jesus think any less of you. He wants you to know that he did all this for you so you can become closer to God and to accept God’s offer of friendship.
The immediate message of Jesus is two-fold – to tell you about his victory over sin and death, and to console and encourage you to accept his friendship. He will be with you in sadness and sorrow, when you are angry and hurt, when you feel rejected or betrayed, and he will be the gentle voice that urges you just a tiny step forward because he knows deep down of your goodness, of your beauty, of your lovableness. He will continue to console you all life-long until you finally accept it. He just wants your care and affection. He wants to be with you in good times and bad. He wants you to know he will always abide by you, and to urge you to know that God is happy with you.
This is truly a happy day. God has made it possible for you to know that God will always be with you – because Jesus is raised from the dead and has received a new mission – to reach out to you, to go before you to lead the way, to stretch out his arms once again, in friendship, to say, “This is a new day. Let’s start something new together. Nothing will ever separate us.” Alleluia. Alleluia.
Scripture for Daily Mass
Monday: (Acts 2) 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.
Tuesday: (Acts 2) When the Jews realize the significance of their actions, they petition Peter to be baptized in the name of Jesus.
Wednesday: (Acts 3) Peter and John heal the crippled man at "the Beautiful Gate" at the temple.
Thursday: (Acts 3) All who witnessed the healing recognize 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.
Friday (Acts 4) 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.
Saturday (Acts 4) 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.
Monday: (Matthew 28) 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."
Tuesday: (John 20) Magdalene weeps outside the tomb and thinks Jesus is the gardener, until he speaks to her familiarly.
Wednesday (Luke 24) Two disciples heading towards Emmaus meet Jesus along the way and he opens the scripture for them.
Thursday (Luke 24) As they recount their story to the Eleven, Jesus appears before them, beckons them not to be afraid, and eats with them.
Friday (John 21) 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.
Saturday (Mark 16) 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 on the calendar during this Easter week.
This Week in Jesuit History
- April 3, 1583. The death of Jeronimo Nadal, one of the original companions of Ignatius who later entrusted him with publishing and distributing the Jesuit Constitutions to the various regions of the early Society.
- April 4, 1534. Peter Faber (Pierre Favre) ordained a deacon in Paris.
- April 5, 1635. The death of Louis Lallemant, writer and spiritual teacher.
- April 6, 1850. The first edition of La Civilta Cattolica appeared. It was the first journal of the restored Society.
- April 7, 1541. Ignatius was unanimously elected general, but he declined to accept the results.
- April 8, 1762. The French Parliament issued a decree of expulsion of the Jesuits from all their colleges and houses.
- April 9, 1615. The death of William Weston, minister to persecuted Catholics in England and later an author who wrote about his interior life during that period.
- April 10, 1585. At Rome, the death of Pope Gregory XIII, founder of the Gregorian University and the German College, whose memory will ever be cherished as that of one of the Society's greatest benefactors.