Easter Sunday

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Easter of Resurrection
Memorial of Saint Anselm (†1109), a Benedictine monk and bishop of Canterbury, who suffered exile for his love for the Church.


First Reading

Acts 10,34.37-43

Then Peter addressed them, 'I now really understand', he said, 'that God has no favourites, You know what happened all over Judaea, how Jesus of Nazareth began in Galilee, after John had been preaching baptism. God had anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and because God was with him, Jesus went about doing good and curing all who had fallen into the power of the devil. Now we are witnesses to everything he did throughout the countryside of Judaea and in Jerusalem itself: and they killed him by hanging him on a tree, yet on the third day God raised him to life and allowed him to be seen, not by the whole people but only by certain witnesses that God had chosen beforehand. Now we are those witnesses -- we have eaten and drunk with him after his resurrection from the dead- and he has ordered us to proclaim this to his people and to bear witness that God has appointed him to judge everyone, alive or dead. It is to him that all the prophets bear this witness: that all who believe in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name.'

Psalmody

Psalm 117

Antiphon

Eternal is the mercy of the Lord.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good,
for his love endures for ever.

Let the sons of Israel say :
'His love endures for ever.'

Let the sons of Aaron say :
'His love endures for ever.'

Let those who fear the Lord say :
'His love endures for ever.'

I called the Lord in my distress;
he answered and feed me.

The Lord is at my side; I do not fear.
What can man do against m?

The Lord is at my side as my helper:
I shall look down on my foes.

It is better to take refuge in the lord
than to trust in men:

It is better to take refuge in the lord
than to trust in prices.

The nations all encompassed me;
in the lord's name I crushed them.

They compassed me, compassed me about;
in the Lord's name I crushed them.

They compassed me about like bees;
they blazed like a fire among thorns.
In the Lord's name I crushed them.

I was thrust down, thrust down and falling
but the Lord was my helper.

The Lord is my strength and my song;
he was my saviour.

There are shouts of joy and victory
in the tents of the just.

The Lord's right hand has triumphed;
his right hand raised me.

The Lord's right hand had triumphed;
I shall not die, I shall live
and recount his deed.

I was punished, I was punished by the Lord,
but not doomed to die.

Open to me the gates of holiness :
I will enter and give thanks.

This is the Lord's own gates
where the just may enter.

I will thank you for you have answered
and you are my saviour.

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the corner stone.

This is the work of the Lord,
a marvel in our eyes.

This day was made by the Lord;
we rejoice and are glad.

O Lord, grant us salvation;
O Lord, grant success.

Blessed in the name of the Lord
is he who comes

We bless you from the house of the Lord;
the Lord God is our light.

Go forward in procession with branches
even to the altar.

You are my God, I thank you.
My God, I praise you.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his love endures forever.

Second Reading

Colossians 3,1-4

Since you have been raised up to be with Christ, you must look for the things that are above, where Christ is, sitting at God's right hand. Let your thoughts be on things above, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed -- and he is your life-you, too, will be revealed with him in glory.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Christ is risen from the dead
and will die no more.
He awaits us in Galilee!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 20,1-9

It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. 'They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,' she said, 'and we don't know where they have put him.' So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter, following him, also came up, went into the tomb, saw the linen cloths lying on the ground and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed. Till this moment they had still not understood the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Christ is risen from the dead
and will die no more.
He awaits us in Galilee!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

The Easter Gospel begins with a woman, Mary of Magdala, who goes to the tomb in the morning, "when it was still dark." It was dark outside, but above all, it was dark inside her heart. With a sad heart, Mary goes to the tomb. As soon as she gets to there, she sees the rock has been moved, a heavy slab, like every death and separation, has been overturned. She does not even enter. She immediately runs to Peter and John: "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb!" she shouts breathlessly. Even as a dead person, she thinks, they want him. And with sadness she adds: "We do not know where they have laid him." Mary's sadness over losing the Lord, even just his dead body, is a slap to our coldness and our forgetfulness toward Jesus, even the living Jesus. Today, this woman is a high example for all believers. Only with her feelings in our heart is it possible to meet the Risen Lord.
It is she and her desperation which moves Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved. They "run" immediately toward the empty tomb. After having begun together to follow the Lord--even if from afar during the passion (Jn 18:15-16), now they find themselves "both running" to not be far from him. It is a race which expresses well the anxiety of every disciple, of every community, which seeks the Lord. We too perhaps should take up this race again. Our pace has become too slow, perhaps made heavy by our self-love, by the fear of slipping and losing something which belongs to us, by the fear of having to abandon our repetitive habits. We need to try to run again, to leave that upper room with the doors closed and go toward the Lord. Easter is also about hurrying. The one who reached the tomb first was the disciple of love: love makes us run faster. But also Peter's slower pace led him to the threshold of the tomb, and both of them entered. Peter first, and he observed a perfect order: the wrapping linen were in their place, as if emptied of Jesus' body and the shroud was "rolled up in a place by itself." There was no tampering or robbery: it was as if Jesus had freed himself. It was not necessary for him to undo the bandages like he did for Lazarus. The other disciple also entered and "saw" the same scene: he "saw and believed", the Gospel notes. They found themselves before the signs of resurrection and they allowed their hearts to be touched.
Until that point, in fact --the evangelist continues-- "they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead." Without understanding Easter, one remains resigned before evil. But Easter has come, the heavy rock has been turned and the tomb has been opened. The Lord has won over death, and he lives forever. The Risen Jesus places the power of the Holy Spirit that renews us in our hearts. The apostle writes: "For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Col 3:3). Our life is connected to the Risen Jesus and so is part of the victory over death and evil. Together with the Risen one the entire world will enter into our hearts with its expectations and its suffering--just like he showed his disciples the wounds still present on his body--so that we can cooperate with him in the birth of a new heaven and a new earth, where there are neither mourning, nor tears, nor death, nor sadness--because God will be everything in everyone.