01 April. Easter Sunday

Acts 10:34ff + Psalm 118 + Colossians 3:1-4 + John 20:1-9

1st Reading: Acts (10:34, 37-43)

Peter and the other apostles are witnesses to the resurrection

Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Responsorial Psalm (from Ps 118)

Response: This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
His mercy endures forever. (R./)

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. (R./)

The right hand of the Lord has struck with power;
the right hand of the Lord is exalted.
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the Lord. (R./)

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. (R./)

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the Lord has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes. (R./)

2nd Reading: Colossians (3:1-4)

As Christ is now in glory, we share in his risen state

Brothers and sisters, if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

Alternative 2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians (5:6-8)

Celebrating the festival with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, no with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Gospel: John (20:1-9)

The empty tomb is visited by Peter and the Beloved Disciple

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus” head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.



 God’s love shown by Easter

Traditionally, we understand the cross as the measure of God’s love for us. We may find it harder to see the resurrection as an equally great expression of God’s love. But the Fourth Gospel clearly implies it: the disciple Jesus loved , the head-cloth recalling Lazarus (see how much he loved him) and not least the rapture of Mary Magdalene (Rabbouni). Jesus died and rose for love of us.

Kieran O’Mahony (see his Easter commentary here)

Seeking the Risen Christ

Faith in Jesus, raised by the Father, didn’t spring up easily or spontaneously within the hearts of the disciples. Before their meeting with him, now full of new life, the Gospel writers talk about their confusion, their search around the tomb, their questions and uncertainties. Mary of Magdala is the best prototype of what probably happens to all of them. According to John’s story, she seeks the crucified in the shadows, “when it was still dark.” Naturally she seeks him “in the grave.” She still doesn’t know that death has been conquered. That’s why the emptiness of the tomb leaves her upset. Without Jesus, she feels lost.

The other Gospel writers gather a different tradition that describes a search by the whole group of women. They can’t forget the Master whom they had known and loved: their love brings them to the tomb. They don’t find Jesus there, but hear the message that points out to them where they need to direct their search: “Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He isn’t here. He has risen.”

Faith in the risen Christ isn’t born spontaneously in us either today, simply because of what we have heard from childhood. In order to open up to faith in the resurrection, we need to seek him personally. It’s decisive to not forget Jesus, to love him passionately and to seek him with all our energies, but not in the world of the dead. We must seek for the one-who-lives where real life is. If we want to meet the risen Christ, full of life and creative energy, we won’t find him in a dead religion, obsessed with protocols, laws and norms, but there where people live by Jesus’ Spirit, and are welcomed with love and responsibility in a family of faith.

We need to seek him, not among people who engage in sterile battles, heedless of Jesus’ love and spirit, but in little communities that put Christ in their center because they know that “where two or three gather in his name, there he will be also.” Our best chance of meeting the one who lives is in seeking a new quality of relationship with him and by personally identifying with his project. A Jesus who is obscure and inert, who doesn’t touch hearts or spread freedom, is a “dead Jesus.” He isn’t the living Christ, risen by the Father, the one who lives and who gives life. (J A Pagola)

Joining in the resurrection

A rabbi once gathered his students together very early in the morning while it was still dark, and asked them this question: ‘How can you tell when the night has ended and the day has begun?’ One student answered: ‘Maybe it’s when you see an animal and you can distinguish if it’s a sheep or a dog.’ ‘No,’ the rabbi said. A second student answered: ‘Maybe it’s when you are looking at a tree in the distance and you can tell whether it’s a fig tree or a peach tree.’ ‘No,’ said the rabbi. After a few more guesses the students demanded the answer. The rabbi replied: ‘It’s when you look on the face of any woman or man and see that she is your sister and he is your brother. If you cannot do this, no matter what time it is, it is still night.’

In St John’s account, the Easter story begins very early in the morning of the first day of the week while it is ‘still dark.’ In one of his letters, the same writer insists that ‘the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.’ But this is strictly on one condition, which he spells out clearly: ‘Whoever loves his brothers and sisters,’ John says, ‘lives in the light.’ On the other hand, ‘whoever prefers to hate . . . is in the darkness.’ (1 Jn 2:8-11).

Just two days ago, as we remembered the sufferings and death of the most marvellous human being the world has ever known, we came face to face with the dark side of human nature, the darkness that led the enemies of Jesus to torture, humiliate, and finally murder him on a cross. On that black day in Jerusalem, the capacity of human beings to hate, hurt and harm one another went completely out of control. It’s no wonder, then, that ‘darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon‘, that ‘the sun’s light failed”, and that ‘the curtain of the temple was torn in two‘ (Lk 23:24).

Between light and darkness, between good and evil, a mighty struggle is still going on. It’s going on in the physical cosmos, in human societies, and within our own personalities. Although the darkness often appears to be stronger than the light, it has not triumphed. The light is remarkably resilient. Often in danger of being extinguished, it manages to survive, and even to win many victories. The words of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of modern India, still ring as true as when he spoke them many decades ago: ‘When I despair I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but, in the end, they always fall.’ The words of the Easter Vigil liturgy express the same truth in an equally appealing way: ‘The power of this holy [Easter] night,’ it proclaims, ‘dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy. It casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride.’ Our celebration of Easter reminds us that the darkness of evil and hatred will never have the last say. For the resurrection of Jesus proclaims the ultimate triumph of light over darkness and goodness over evil, both in us and in our world.

Jesus was buried at sunset, as darkness was once again creeping over the earth, to all appearances a victim and a failure. But on the third day afterwards the sun came up on him victorious and triumphant, alive, powerful and influential. Once again, ‘the true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (Jn 1:9)

We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus today by rising from darkness and death in our own lives. The Risen Lord, represented by this beautiful Easter candle burning with warmth and light, invites us to leave behind the works of darkness, and to renounce and reject anything in our lives which is wrong or selfish. This Easter day, as disciples joined to him by baptism, we resolve to ‘walk always as children of the light‘, following his footsteps. We are invited to renew our baptismal promises. These are: to reject darkness, evil and sin and resolve to follow Jesus Christ from now on, in a life of goodness and love, shaped by his powerful example. In this resolve we are supported and guided by the Holy Spirit, whom he promised to share with us and on whom we can always rely. So together, dear sisters and brothers, we will restate our baptismal promises as loudly, clearly and joyfully as we possibly can.

Truly great news

Mary Magdalene finds the empty tomb and runs to the apostles to tell them her astonishing news. St John’s is the only account where the apostles are directly involved in finding that the tomb was empty, and where neither Jesus nor angels were there to give any guidance about the meaning of it. The Beloved Disciple was present with Peter to see the discarded burial-cloths within the tomb, and he at once realised what this meant: that Jesus was risen from the dead!

Like many others, I felt deep emotion on seeing the Grand Canyon in Arizona; my whole being was thrilled by the awesomeness of it all. I had a camera, and I used it to the best of my ability, trying to capture the vision, the emotions, the experience, and the wonder of it. Later I realised the futility of such photos when I came home and tried to explain to friends what my experience had been. The others needed to see for themselves what I saw, before there was any hope of real understanding or appreciation taking place. For those who don’t understand, no words are possible, and for those who do understand, no words are necessary. That’s the sense we have when reading the resurrection story. It tells of a deeply mysterious encounter, but we can’t quite capture what its impact was within the hearts of his followers, that first Easter day.

Let’s remember that this gospel is truly great news, both timeless and very actual for us right here and now. Somehow I am can relate to the first hearers of that good news, if I try to put myself within the story as told by Saint John today. Am I like Magdalene who told the others the news of resurrection? Or like the apostles who responded by running to the tomb to see for themselves. I?m not exactly sure when I first heard about the resurrection of Jesus. But it was many years later when I personally experienced for myself the truth of it . The discovery came in moments of darkness and desolation, when I cried out to God for help. We all have our moments when we cry out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” But God does not forsake us, and the darkest hour is just before the dawn.

On Easter morning, the stone was rolled away from the mouth of the tomb. Could I think of my heart as a tomb awaiting a resurrection? Can I identify anything akin to a stone that is holding me back from enjoying the fullness of life? It could be an addiction, a compulsion or some hidden and dark secret that I have never shared with anyone. We can be as sick as our secrets. But as pope Francis declares, “We are called to be people of joyful hope, not doomsday prophets!” Because of the resurrection of Jesus, we can all have hopeful joy, and go out to share it with the world.

Machtnamh: Páirteach san Aiséirí (Joining in the resurrection)

Ceiliúraimid aiséirí Íosa inniu. Sinne ag fágaint slán leis an ndorchadas agus leis an dúluachar inár saol féin.Is íomhá áluinn an choinneal maisithe seo atá os ár gcomhair, coinnneal ag tabhairt uaithi teas agus súchas agus solas, cuireadh dúinn giomhartha an dorchadais a thréigint agus cúl a thabhairt don uile rud atá mícheart nó leithleasach. Inniu, mar a bheadh deisceabail nuadéanta, deisceabail nua-bhaiste, déanaimid réiteach mar adeir naomh Pól ‘siúl i gcónaí mar leanaí an tsolais’. Tugtar cuireadh dúinn ár gealltanais baiste féin a athnuachan. Seo agat iad, droim láimhe a thabhairt do olc agus don pheaca agus a chinntiú go bhfuilimid ar lorg Íosa Críost agus á leanuint as seo amach, trí saol maith agus báúil agus grámhar, arna mhúnlú ar shompla an tSlánaitheora. Sa réiteach seo, tacaíonn agus treoraíonn an Spiorad Naomh sinn, mar ar gheall Íosa a roinnt linn agus gur féidir linn a bheith ag brath air i gcónaí. Mar sin, a dheirfiúracha agus a deartháireacha, déanfaimis, d’aon guth, dearbhaimis as an nua ár ngeallúintí baiste de ghuth soiléir, ard agus áthasach.


(Saint Ceallach or Celsus)

Ceallach or Celsus or Celestinus (1080-1129) as Archbishop of Armagh contributed to the reform of the Irish church in the twelfth century. He put an end to the previous arrangement, in effect since 966, whereby the supreme head of the Irish Church had been a layman. Following the Synod of Raith Bressail, which established a diocesan structure for Ireland, he became the first primary prelate of all Ireland.

Join the Discussion

Keep the following in mind when writing a comment

  • Your comment must include your full name, and email. (email will not be published). You may be contacted by email, and it is possible you might be requested to supply your postal address to verify your identity.
  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger. Comments containing vulgarities, personalised insults, slanders or accusations shall be deleted.
  • Keep to the point. Deliberate digressions don't aid the discussion.
  • Including multiple links or coding in your comment will increase the chances of it being automati cally marked as spam.
  • Posts that are merely links to other sites or lengthy quotes may not be published.
  • Brevity. Like homilies keep you comments as short as possible; continued repetitions of a point over various threads will not be published.
  • The decision to publish or not publish a comment is made by the site editor. It will not be possible to reply individually to those whose comments are not published.