EASTER SUNDAY (A,B,C)
Homily and Prayers of the Faithful by L.J. O'Donnell
Christus Resurrexit, Alleluia! Christ is Risen,
The Mass of Easter Day that is today, is our alleluia. This Eucharist is our song of praise to the Risen Christ who is our life and whose triumph over death we proclaim to the entire world. For as the Gospel Acclamation so rightly presents: Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed; let us celebrate the feast then, in the Lord. So let us celebrate, let us shout alleluia. Let us be an Easter People, for alleluia is our song! Alleluia!
From todays Gospel that is of St John,
above all, we should try and concentrate mainly on one phrase or sentence coming
from the Resurrection Account. The
concluding sentence is the key to the reading: Till this moment they had
failed to understand the teaching of scripture that he must rise from the
dead. We can take the words
for what they seem to say they had not understood that Christ would rise.
But John also has another meaning: the disciples did not understand
what it would mean for Jesus to rise from the dead.
So what does it mean for us for the
Church that Christ is risen? This
is the question, which is posed in the liturgy over the several weeks of
Eastertide. The question has many answers and gradually they will unfold during
this Easter Season. The First
Reading from St Lukes Acts of the Apostles, gives us a first answer: we
are called to witness with Peter to the resurrection.
For the reading states that we have eaten and drunk with him after
his resurrection. Both the
Second Reading and the alternative Second Reading, which we will be read after
the Communion Hymn as a form of reflection, tells us we must put away old yeast
or earthly things and set our sights on our destiny: heaven!
Hope is an extremely important aspect of the
Easter Mysteries. Perhaps recapping
on the Victimae paschali laudes, in our own time during the Easter
Period, once may gain a fuller and more complete understanding of Easter: Christ,
my hope, has risen
that Christ is risen from the dead we know.
Victorious King thy mercy show!
In last nights Solemn Liturgies we read a
number of Old Testament Readings, from Genesis, Exodus, Isaiah, Baruch and
Ezekiel which expressed Israels experiences of Gods continuing concern for
creation which will be completed now, by the Lords coming and rising from the
dead. St Jerome says something
quite effective in conjunction with the liturgy: novum in vetere latet,
vetus in novo patet; translated we have: the new is hidden
in the old, the old is revealed in the new.
Substantially, this is the message of Easter.
Easter is not just history from two thousand odd years ago, it is, in
fact present tense because every time we gather to celebrate the Eucharistic
Celebration of Mass we are celebrating Easter, because we Christians are, as I
have said, and I will continue to say: Easter People.
We are Easter People! In
this way, todays concluding celebration of the Easter Triduum should be the
high point of our year. But, East
returns week by week on every Sunday Celebration.
And often this is not considered to be the case.
It always strikes me how people think of
Easter as being less important than Christmas.
In fact, the early Church called Christmas the Christmas
Pasch. This, therefore
implies that it is tied in with the Easter Celebration. It is also quite interesting to note that the Filipino term
for Christmas, I believe is Pasko; we can see from that, the
derivation of the word Pasch (Paschal) or the Easter
Mysteries. Perhaps there is
an interlinking between the Christmas Narratives and the Resurrection
Narratives. There cannot be one
without the other!
Therefore, our Easter Challenge is the same as
Mary Magdalenes: when she saw that the Lord had risen from the tomb she
ran to the disciples and told them that, in many words that the Lord had risen!
So too, we must go out today and tell people about Jesus and about
what he has done for us. People may
not at first believe in the Easter Mysteries but they should believe in Jesus
because he was a man who lived 2000 years ago and there is proof of that in the
Scriptures. That is what we must
do: proclaim to the whole world, Christs triumph over death!
Ill conclude now by reading to you an
extract from a story entitled Dead and Alive again which comes from
a childrens book published in the mid 1990s.
And this story gives an easy understanding of what our challenge must be.
It is taken from a childs perspective, as other people are included.
What they didnt know, of
course, was that they had not got rid of him at all!
Jesus died on the Friday, nothing much happened on Saturday, because that
was the resting day and people were not allowed to work.
Then on Sunday, Mary Magdalene said to his friends, Joanna and another
Mary, lets go to Jesus grave. At
the very least we could put some flowers on it.
Joanna was not really sure. The
government did not like Jesus, she had once said, and she believed that they
would be guarding his tomb to find out who his friends were.
But the other Mary said, they probably know about us, anyway.
I agree with Mary we must go and look.
When they got there
the grave was empty. Then they
found someone waiting there who told them that he was alive again.
Well, Joanna and Mary were terrified!
They didnt know what was going on, but they knew they did not like it.
So they ran off, not telling a single person. Mary Magdalene stayed. What
was said hadnt really sunk in, when she saw a gardener.
It was still darkish and she couldnt see him all too well so she asked
him where to find Jesus grave. Familiarly,
the gardener said to her, Mary!
It was Jesus! He was alive!
Mary asked Jesus what she should do, and he
said: Go and find the others
and tell them that I am alive
people are, theyll find me there
Christus Resurrexit, Alleluia! Christ is
Easter Sunday (A,B,C)
Celebrant: We are Easter People, and our chant is Alleluia! Today we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ who suffered and died for love of us all; we turn to him with courage.
Response is 'Hear our
That all people who follow the values of
Christianity may be filled with joy, love, hope and peace as we rejoice on this
That this Easter may be a new beginning for those who strayed from their beliefs and an enthusiastic witness to the newly baptised and received in the Church.
That the Church will continue to proclaim the
joys of Easter, that although Christ our Passover was sacrificed, he has now
risen from the grave.
That the sick, lonely, poor, and bereaved may experience the joy and hope of the Easter message.
That, as Eastertide begins, so also will peace and justice emerge in the world, especially in the HolyLand.
England and Wales:] After his
Resurrection, Jesus appeared to Mary and the disciples.
By doing so these humble people grew in faith, knowing he had risen from
the dead. Mary rejoiced her son
had returned as he promised. Let us
pray to Mary:
O God, who, on this day, through you only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, has
conquered death, and thrown open to us the gate of everlasting life.
Give effect by your aid to our prayers, which you anticipate and inspire.
Through the same Christ, our Risen Lord.