Daily Readings for Mass.
(Liturgical Calendar for Ireland, 2019)

21 April. Easter Sunday (C)

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

Peter and the other apostles are witnesses to the resurrection

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 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./)

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./)

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

Christ is now in glory; we share in his risen state

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.

{{or 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 seen by Mary Magdalene, then 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.


Rising with him to a new life

Jewish tradition tells of a rabbi who 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, one 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 yet 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 seventy years 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)

So we celebrate his resurrection today by rising from darkness and death ourselves. The Risen Lord himself, represented here by this beautiful Easter candle burning in our midst, is asking us to leave behind the works of darkness, to renounce and reject anything and everything in our lives which is dark, sinister and evil, and as persons connected to him by baptism, to 'walk always as children of the light', following in his footsteps.

So we are now invited to renew our baptismal promises. Reject darkness, evil and sin in every shape and form. And promise to follow Jesus Christ from now on, in a life of light, goodness and love, a life shaped by his own powerful example, a life supported and guided by the Holy Spirit, whom he first gave us at baptism and whom he gives us again right now. So together, dear People of God, let us renew our baptismal promises, and renew them as loudly and enthusiastically as we can.

Discovering great news

Mary Magdalene finds the empty tomb and runs to the apostles to tell them her astonishing news. According to John, the apostles personally found the tomb empty, with neither Jesus any messenger to explain its meaning . The Beloved Disciple arrived with Peter, in time to see the discarded burial-cloths within the tomb, and at once realised what it meant: that Jesus was risen from the dead.

The resurrection story tells of a deeply mysterious truth, but we can't quite experience its original impact in the hearts of his followers. This gospel, this great news, spans the centuries and is still a living force for here and now. In a sense, you and I are reflected in elements of that story, and may place ourselves within the account given by Saint John today. Am I like Magdalene, announcing the news of resurrection? Or like the apostles who respond immediately by running off to the tomb to see for themselves.

On Easter morning, the stone was rolled back from the mouth of the tomb. Is my heart be ike a tomb awaiting resurrection? Can I identify any "gravestone" that is holding me back from a fuller, freer life? It could be an addiction, a compulsion or some dark secret I have never shared with anyone. We can be sickened by our secrets. But as pope Francis said, we are meant to be "people of joyful hope, not doomsday prophets!" By trusting in the resurrection of Jesus, we can all find hope and joy, and go out to share them with others.

Where can the living one be found?

Faith in Jesus, raised by the Father, didn't come easily to his followers. Before their Easter experience, the Gospels describe their confusion, their searching at 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 "when it was still dark." Naturally she seeks him "in the grave." She still doesn't know that death has been conquered. The empty tomb leaves her upset. Without Jesus, she feels lost.

The other Evangelists gather a different tradition that describes a search by the whole group of women. They can't forget the Master who has welcomed them as disciples: 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 easily in us either. Even if we have heard about Easter from childhood, we need to make our own way to the empty tomb. It's decisive to not forget Jesus, to love him as did Mary Magdalene, and to go in search for him, but not among the dead. If we want to meet the risen Christ, we need to seek him, not in a static religion of hierarchy, laws and norms, but wherever people live according to his Spirit, where others are welcomed with faith, love and care.

We won't meet the living, risen Christ through a faith that is mere routine, focussed on formulas and tradition, but by a faith that binds us in personal relationship with Jesus and identifies us fully with his project of spreading the love of God. A faith that is unresponsive, that doesn't fall call us to love or seduce our hearts, is a dead faith. The one we follow is the living Christ, raised up by the Father, the one who lives for us and who gives us life.


Ní chasfar orainn Críost beo aiseirithe le creideamh atá leamh agus bunaithe ar tradisiúin amháin. Caifear gaol pearsanta a chruthú le hÍosa agus cabhrú leis Grá Dé a scaipeadh, seachas san tá ár gcreideamh marbh. ‘Sé An Tiarna atá de dhíth orainn, Críost Beo, árdaithe ag an Athair, ár buan chara agus bronntóir na beatha.