Posted by: RAM | April 14, 2017

Easter Vigil (April 15): “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Holy Eucharist
Holy Saturday 
At the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter
Lectionary: 41

First Reading: Genesis 1:1–2:2
Psalms 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24, 35:  Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
Second Reading: Genesis 22:1-18
Psalms 16:5, 8-11: You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Third Reading: Exodus 14:15–15:1
Exodus 15:1-6, 17-18: Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
Fourth Reading: Isaiah 54:5-14
Psalms 30:2, 4-6, 11-13: I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Fifth Reading: Isaiah 55:1-11
Isaiah 12:2-6: You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Sixth Reading: Baruch 3:9-15, 32–4:4
Psalms 19:8-11: Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
Seventh Reading: Ezekiel 36:16-28 (When Baptism is celebrated)
Psalm 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19: Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Epistle: Romans 6:3-11
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Matthew 28:1-10
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning,
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
And behold, there was a great earthquake;
for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven,
approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.
His appearance was like lightning
and his clothing was white as snow.
The guards were shaken with fear of him
and became like dead men.
Then the angel said to the women in reply,
“Do not be afraid!
I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.
He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.
Come and see the place where he lay.
Then go quickly and tell his disciples,
‘He has been raised from the dead,
and he is going before you to Galilee;
there you will see him.’
Behold, I have told you.”
Then they went away quickly from the tomb,
fearful yet overjoyed,
and ran to announce this to his disciples.
And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee,
and there they will see me.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041517.cfm

Reflection:  Do you receive the news of Jesus’ resurrection with skepticism and doubt or with faith and joyful wonderment? On Sunday morning the women who had witnessed Jesus death on the cross went to the tomb to pay their last tribute to a dead body. The disciples thought that everything had finished in tragedy. Neither were ready to see an empty tomb and hear the angel’s message, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise.” (Luke 24:5-76). The angel urged them to believe that Jesus had indeed risen just as he had promised. In joy then went to share the good news with the other disciples.

Is it any small wonder that it was the women, rather than the apostles, who first witnessed the empty tomb and the resurrected Lord?  Isidore of Seville, a 7th century church father comments on this: “As a woman (Eve) was first to taste death, so a woman (Mary Magdalene) was first to taste life.  As a woman was prescient in the fall, so a woman was prescient in beholding the dawning of redemption, thus reversing the curse upon Eve.”  The first to testify to the risen Lord was a woman from whom Jesus had cast out seven demons.

What is the significance of the stone being rolled away? It would have taken several people to move such a stone. And besides, the sealed tomb had been guarded by soldiers! This is clearly the first sign of the resurrection.  Bede, a church father from the 8th century, comments:

“[The angel] rolled back the stone not to throw open a way for our Lord to come forth, but to provide evidence to people that he had already come forth. As the virgin’s womb was closed, so the sepulcher was closed, yet he entered the world through her closed womb, and so he left the world through the closed sepulcher.” (From Homilies on the Gospels 2,7,24)

Another church father remarked: “To behold the resurrection, the stone must first be rolled away from our hearts” (Peter Chrysologus, 5th century).  Do you know the joy of the resurrection?

It is significant that the disciples had to first deal with the empty tomb before they could come to grips with the fact that scripture had foretold that Jesus would die for our sins and then rise triumphant. They disbelieved until they saw the empty tomb. Bede explains why the Risen Lord revealed himself gradually to the disciples:

“Our Lord and redeemer revealed the glory of his resurrection to his disciples gradually and over a period of time, undoubtedly because so great was the virtue of the miracle that the weak hearts of mortals could not grasp [the significance of] this all at once. Thus, he had regard for the frailty of those seeking him. To those who came first to the tomb, both the women who were aflame with love for him and the men, he showed the stone rolled back. Since his body had been carried away, he showed them the linen cloths in which it had been wrapped lying there alone. Then, to the women who were searching eagerly, who were confused in their minds about what they had found out about him, he showed a vision of angels who disclosed evidences of the fact that he had risen again. Thus, with the report of his resurrection already accomplished, going ahead of him, the Lord of hosts and the king of glory himself at length appeared and made clear with what great might he had overcome the death he had temporarily tasted.” (From Homilies on the Gospels 2,9,25)

One thing is certain, if Jesus had not risen from the dead and appeared to his disciples, we would never have heard of him.  Nothing else could have changed sad and despairing men and women into people radiant with joy and courage. The reality of the resurrection is the central fact of the Christian faith. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Lord gives us “eyes of faith” to know him and the power of his resurrection. The greatest joy we can have is to encounter the living Lord and to know him personally.  Do you celebrate the feast of Easter with joy and thanksgiving for the victory which Jesus has won for you over sin and death?

“Lord Jesus Christ, you have triumphed over the grave and you have won new life for us. Give me the eyes of faith to see you in your glory. Help me to draw near to you and to grow in the knowledge of your great love and power.” http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/apr15.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Paternus (482-565)
St. Paternus.The first 5th century saint. He followed his father’s path by becoming a hermit in Wales. He founded the monastery at the great church of Paternus, and became a bishop of that region. He was known for his preaching, charity and mortifications. Scholars believe his story is an amalgam. His feast day is April 16. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=476

More Saints of the Day:
St. Bebnuda (Paphnutius) 
St. Eutychius
St. Hunna
St. Maro
St. Maximus & Olympiades
St. Mundus
St. Paternus
St. Ruadan

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

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