Easter Sunday – 12 April 2020
Lectionary Readings: Acts 10:34.37-43; Ps 118:1-2.16-17.22-23; Col 3:1-4; John 20:1-9
Theme: “Chosen by God as witnesses”
In John’s account of the Resurrection we have three people involved: Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter and “the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved”. Mary Magdalene was first at the tomb and saw the stone rolled back and immediately thought that Jesus’ body had been stolen. She ran to Simon Peter and ‘the other disciple’ to tell them what she had seen. They ran to verify her story. ‘The other disciple’ outran Simon Peter (younger and eager because of his special bond with Jesus). He stooped and saw the cloths but did not enter until Simon Peter arrived – showing his respect for his position as leader. They both then saw the linen cloths lying there and the napkin which covered Jesus’ head “rolled up in a place by itself”. It is obvious that the body had not been stolen and that Jesus had miraculously risen from the dead unlike Lazarus who had to be called out by Jesus and have his burial cloths removed. Jesus leaves behind him the signs of death which he has conquered. ‘The other disciple’ “saw and believed” that Jesus, the Christ had risen from the dead. Mary will have her moment of faith later on in the narrative. What about Simon Peter?
In the first reading taken from Acts we experience Peter’s faith as he witnesses to a Gentile group – the household of Cornelius, a centurion of the Cohort Italica. This is a miraculous occasion for Peter where he is converted by a vision from the Lord to believe “that God shows no partiality” (10:34b – not included in the reading). He witnesses to the life, death and specifically the resurrection of Jesus: “but God raised him on the third day and made him manifest; not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses…” (v. 41)
In the second reading from Colossians, Paul instructs all (us, too) who are baptized (“raised with Christ”) through the witnessing of our parents and the ministry of the priesthood, to keep our minds and hearts fixed on the Risen One as we live our lives hidden in Jesus so that when he appears we shall appear with him in glory.
So we rejoice on this day because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ witnessed to us by the apostles and disciples right down through the ages in Holy Scripture and the Tradition of the Church.
For Reflection and Discussion: 1. What has my experience of Holy Week leading up to the great feast of the Resurrection of our Lord been at this time in the history of our world? 2. What impact does the fact that the Jews begin Pesach on the eve of Holy Thursday have on my spiritual connection with our ancestors in the faith?
Bibliography: King, N. The New Testament. (Great Britain: 2004); African Bible (Nairobi: 2004)