Sunday, April 20, 2014

Today's Mass Readings - Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Acts 10:34, 37-43 -
34 Peter proceeded to speak and said, 37 “You know what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. 40 This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, 41 not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”
P S A L M - Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
R: This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. 2 Let the house of Israel say, “His mercy endures forever.” (R)16 The right hand of the Lord has struck with power; the right hand of the Lord is exalted. 17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. (R) 22 The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 23 By the Lord has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes. (R)
2ND READING - Colossians 3:1-4 (or 1 Corinthians 5:6-8)
1 Brothers and sisters: If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. 
Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed; let us then feast with joy in the Lord.
John 20:1-9 (or Luke 24:13-35)
1 On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” 3 So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. 4 They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; 5 he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. 6 When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, 7 and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. 8 Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. 9 For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.


We speak of the resurrection of Jesus as a most important event. It is the vindication of Jesus in the face of all His detractors. The heavenly Father, opting to be silent in the duration of the passion, now rewards Jesus with new life, power, glory and exultation. Later, Paul writes that the resurrection of Jesus also becomes the most important seal for the preaching of the Christian faith. He says, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is our faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God” (1 Corinthians 15:14-15).

       Belief in the Risen Jesus, however, was not easy and automatic for the first disciples. Obviously traumatized with the passion of Jesus, where they saw Him going through every blow and torture, the disciples were skeptical and suspicious of every report they received about Jesus being seen alive. Two disciples decided to take a break from everything by distancing themselves — away from Jerusalem, away from the circle of disciples, away from the issue of Jesus. They could have been so depressed and so caved in with their emotions that they failed to recognize with their eyes the presence of Jesus, who walked with them for a long time on the road to Emmaus. It was not enough that Jesus had come. He had to instill faith anew in them, explaining to them the mysterious plan of God written in the Law and the prophets about the suffering Messiah, and letting their hearts burn again in hope.

       In our time, this touch of faith, which can only be a gift of the Risen Jesus, is what many need. True, there are many among us who are “disciples” and “apostles” of Jesus. Many bear the name Christian, and some even claim to be “born-again Christians.” But many — in an instant of trials and difficulties, in an encounter of frustration, or in an exposure to the seemingly dominant forces and manifestations of evil — easily give up their enthusiasm, their passion and conviction for Jesus. Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What are the personal fruits of your own belief in Jesus as risen from the dead? Is there someone you know who needs a boost in his or her faith in Jesus as Lord? What can you do for this person?
Dearest Lord, open my eyes to Your presence in my life. May I shine Your presence, too, in the lives of the people around me.

St. Beuno, abbot, pray for us.

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