Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

The Resurrection of the Lord - The Mass of Easter Sunday

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

 

Peter proceeded to speak and said:
"You know what has happened all over Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached,
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.
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.
This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible,
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.
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.
To him all the prophets bear witness,
that everyone who believes in him
will receive forgiveness of sins through his name."

Reading 2: (Col 3:1-4)

 

Brothers and sisters:
If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.

Gospel: (Jn 20:1-9)

 

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.
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."
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead.


Written by: Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.

I. THEME: Jesus resurrected from the death.

            To understand the joy of Easter, we need to compare the two apostles’ attitudes: before and after Christ’s event. During Christ’s Passion and Death, most of his apostles ran away from him because they were afraid of the Sandherin. After Jesus’ resurrection, they were completely changed, their hopelessness were replaced with the joy of Jesus’ resurrection. All past events were seen through their lense of the resurrected Jesus.

            Today readings concentrate on the witnesses of the mystery of the resurrection and the Good News which the witnesses proclaimed. In the first reading, St. Peter, from a timid person who denied Jesus three times in his Passion, now courageously witnessed for Jesus before all people, including the Sandherin. The power that changed Peter was Jesus’ resurrection. Peter believed that if Jesus died and resurrected, and God’s power gloriously triumphed over worldly power, there is nothing to worry about. In the second reading, the author of the Letter to the Colossians reminded the faithful about the result of the mystery of the resurrection. They are carrying in themselves the life of Christ’s resurrection; this life demands them to always look for the lasting values of the heavenly kingdom, not only be content with the passing values of this world. They must live in a way that they shall be resurrected with the resurrected Christ. In the gospel according to St. John, Mary Magdalene went out to visit Jesus’ tomb in the early morning when the sky was still dark. When she saw the empty tomb, she went back and announced to the apostles that someone had taken Jesus’ body away. Then both Peter and John ran to the tomb; they saw and believed what Jesus announced to them before his death.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: The Good News about Jesus Christ

           

            Today account in the Acts only concentrated on the main events of Jesus’ life on earth. The reason for it because on the one hand, Peter preached to those who were living at the same time with Jesus, on the other hand due to Peter’s simple and concise.

1.1/ Peter witnessed for Jesus.

            (1) About Jesus’ life on earth: Peter reminded people what they already knew about Jesus.

            - John Baptist is Jesus’ precursor: “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.What has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached.”

            - Peter wanted to remind them generally about Jesus’ life: his birth, Baptism and the miracles he performed to demonstrate his power: “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.We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and (in) Jerusalem.”

            (2) About Jesus’ death and resurrection:

            - Peter witnessed for Jesus’ death on the cross: “They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.”

            - Peter witnessed for Jesus’ resurrection: “This man God raised (on) the third day and granted that he be visible,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.”

1.2/ The apostles’ duties: Jesus chose them for a mission. Now it is the time for them to announce the Good News to all people. Two main duties of the apostles are:

            (1) To preach the Good News: “He commissioned us to preach to the people.”

            (2) To witness two things: First, to testify that “he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead.” Secondly, “To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.” The basis of the prophets is Isaiah’ four songs of God’s Suffering Servant which we heard in the Holy Week.

2/ Reading II: The principle that guides people in their new life is to always unite with the resurrected Christ.

2.1/ What is above and below: The author advised his faithful: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.”

            “What is above” is the heavenly kingdom where Christ is living with God; “what is below” is the world where we are living. Jesus himself mentioned the difference between these two entities: “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he” (Jn 8:23-24). Jesus also warned his disciples that they shall be hated by the worldly people: “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (Jn 15:19).

            Our problem is that we are paying too much attention to “what is below” and no or a little attention to “what is above.” We are worry about big houses, luxurious cars, all kinds of entertainments, but little attention on building up our relationship with God, learning about God and His teaching, and practicing His commandments in our life. Of course, we need to pay attention to eating, drinking and living, but not to the point that we have no time to prepare for the values of “what is above.”

2.2/ Jesus’ new life is hidden in the faithful: The author continued: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.”

            How do we know that this new life is hidden in us? First, through the new garment of the Baptism, we put on the whole Christ, both his death and resurrection, Secondly, through the sacrament of the Eucharist, we are grafting in Christ’ body. Since we have this new life in ourselves, we must give up our old life with its sins so that we can live a new life, a virtuous life which is possible by Christ’s grace. Once we are united with Christ, we can cry out as St. Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20).

3/ Gospel: The empty tomb

3.1/ The power of love: The author of the Song of Songs described the power of love as follows: “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned” (Cant 8:7).

            (1) Jesus loves Mary Magdala: She was the one whom Jesus healed from seven demons (Mk 16:9; Lk 8:2). To human beings, there was nothing to love in this woman; but to Jesus, he loves and set her free from the devil’s power. From the time she was healed, she always followed Jesus and was at the foot of the cross (Mt 27:56; Jn 19:25).

            (2) Mary Magdala loves Jesus: Even death couldn’t extinguish her love for Jesus. Her love for Jesus was shown when she went out to visit his tomb very early in the morning (about 3 to 6 AM). In John’s gospel, we didn’t know what was her reason for visiting Jesus’ tomb, except because of her love for Jesus. She overcame many fear: Roman soldiers, the hostile Jews, darkness, the devil, cold weather and laziness. Her love probably the main reason why she was the first one Jesus chose to reveal his resurrection for later in the chapter.

            When she saw the great stone has been moved from the tomb and there was no Jesus’ body, she ran back and announced to the apostles, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don't know where they put him.” This sentence is strange to some commentators because Mary Magdalene believed as some Jews who asked Pilate to carefully watch Jesus’ tomb for fearing that Jesus’ disciples shall steal his body and then announce Jesus has been resurrected. This is probably the reason why John said that she went out when the sky was still dark. Darkness wasn’t only outside, but it was also in her mind.

3.2/ Peter and John ran to the tomb: The apostles didn’t dare to appear in public because they feared of the Jews. They probably felt to despair because Jesus didn’t fulfill their dream. When they heard the news from Mary Magdala about the empty tomb, they ran to the tomb. The other reached the tomb before Peter, probably because he was younger, but also he loved Jesus more. When a person is in love, he can do everything faster. He bent his body to look at the empty tomb, but didn’t enter.

            (1) The empty tomb: Peter followed and reached the tomb; he went straightly inside and “saw the burial cloths there,and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.” Two questions were raised from this passage: First, why didn’t other disciple come in but waited for Peter to come in first? The answer is that though Peter denied Jesus three times, but he was always the leader of the Twelve. The other disciple respected Peter because Jesus set Peter at this position. Secondly, the two apostles’ question was if people stole Jesus’ body, they shall not bother to carefully roll up burials cloths and separately set them.

            (2) He has seen and believed: “Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.For they did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead.” John wanted to make a difference between the two faith: First, the empirical faith when someone believed when he saw the fact. Secondly, the Scriptural faith when someone believed because of the Scripture.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - The event of Christ’s resurrection shows us an important fact: death is not the end. Jesus went first to prepare, and he shall draw everybody to him. Therefore, we can’t live as there is no next life.

            - Jesus took all of our sufferings on himself to redeem us, and he gloriously resurrected to prepare for us an everlasting life to come. There is none who loves and cares for us then Jesus. We should completely offer our love for him.

            - Let us make an effort to achieve a love like Mary Magdalene had for Jesus. Once we possess such a love, we shall overcome all obstacles in life to be loyal to God and to witness for him by loving all people.

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