A reading from the Acts of the Apostles
(Chapter 10: 34a, 37-43)
The Acts of the Apostles is really a continuation of Saint Luke’s Gospel, completing the story of what happened after the Resurrection. Peter speaks for the community and recounts the major events in the life of Jesus: his anointing with the Holy Spirit, his ministry of healing and doing good for people, his death and resurrection, and his eating and drinking with the disciples after he conquered death. Peter wants everyone to know that he and the other apostles have been “commissioned” by Jesus to preach the Good News and that “everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Imagine how difficult all this was for Peter and the other apostles. They had lost their friend and leader in whom they had placed all their hope. They had given up everything to follow him, and then they lost him to a horrible death. They could have called it quits and returned to their former lives. There were probably many who encouraged them to stop risking their lives and lead a “normal” existence, but they persisted. Why? Somehow, in ways we cannot understand, they still experienced the presence of Jesus. He was still there for them, and they continued to answer his call. Because of those relatively few courageous people, we have a community, a Church today. Let us be thankful for them.
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.” The next line is so important: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever.” God’s mercy is always there, no matter how far we may have strayed or how much harm we may have done. Please pass that on to someone in your life that really needs to hear those words of everlasting mercy. That is something we can all “rejoice and be glad.”
A reading from St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians
(Chapter 3: 1-4)
The Resurrection is not only something that happened to Jesus two thousand years ago. It is something that we too live every day. We were raised with Christ. There is new life for us not only in the next life but starting now. We can live in the Spirit because the Spirit has been given to each of us. We do not live alone. We live in the Spirit, and the Spirit connects us to one another. We are all brother and sisters in the Spirit. Let us rejoice this day.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John
(Chapter 20: 1-9)
In the deeply patriarchal society of the time, the first person who finds out this powerful truth is a woman, Mary of Magdala. She tells the shocking news to Peter: The Lord’s tomb is empty. When Peter and John enter the tomb, they get it. His body has not been stolen. Something else has happened. They see and believe. Now, their challenge is to convince the others that they are not out of their minds, that something else has happened that they cannot yet explain.
There is no historical account of the Resurrection. There were no cameras there. It is a matter of faith. It is, in fact, the basis of our faith. Happy Easter! Happy Resurrection!
Painting: The Magdalen with Two Flames, Georges de la Tour, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Excerpts from the English translation of the Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL). All rights reserved.
Bill Ayers was a founder, with the late singer Harry Chapin, of WhyHunger. Bill was a radio and TV broadcaster for 40 years. He is a member of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Centerport, New York.