Leaders and those in authority regularly take to the podium in this time of pandemic to tell citizens about the latest directives concerning the distribution of vaccines and the imposition and lifting of restrictions about travel, lifestyle, family visits etc. Citizens continue to ask questions, ‘What can we do?’ ‘What will happen my business, my job, my mortgage, my family?’ In the midst of all, the world knows there are many transitions taking place in life at every level. This is daunting for some, but we trust that all will be well. Meanwhile, we listen carefully to the authorities and maintain social distance, hand hygiene etc.
It is the season of Easter, one of hope, celebration and joy. Jesus died and rose to new life. Without Good Friday, there would be no Easter eggs!
The reading today (Acts 2:36-41) for Mass proclaims Peter’s address to the crowd. This is the first proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection. Peter spoke on behalf of the Twelve as he addressed ‘fellow Jews and all foreigners staying in Jerusalem.’ He appeals to them to listen to what he has to say. He speaks to them about Jesus of Nazareth, telling them they ‘must know for sure that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.’
Of course, the people ‘were cut to the heart’ at what Peter and the apostles said. On hearing it they asked, ‘What must we do?’ Peter told them to repent and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for ‘the forgiveness of your sins.’ Then, he said they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Peter continued to give the message and appealed to them to save themselves. Many people responded positively, accepted the teaching and were baptised. Three-thousand new people joined the community that day.
Today, disciples commit to Jesus by opening their hearts to the message of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The good news is that Jesus Christ is alive. Pope Francis encourages everyone to renew his or her encounter with Jesus Christ.
John’s account of the Gospel (Jn 20:11-18) proclaims Mary of Magdala standing outside the tomb on Easter Sunday morning. She cried as she bent down to look inside the tomb. It was empty except for two angels sitting where ‘the body of Jesus had been’ laid, one at the head and the other at his feet. They asked Mary why she was weeping and she told them they had taken the body of her Lord away and she did not know where they put it. As she spoke to the angels, she turned around and she saw Jesus standing there. She did not recognise him. He asked her why she was crying and whom she was looking for. Then he called her name, ‘Mary’ and she recognised Jesus. She said ‘Rabbuni’, which means Master. He told her not to cling to him, indicating to Mary that there was now a change in their relationship. Jesus told her ‘to go and find the brothers and tell them that he ‘was now ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ Mary went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and told them the things he said to her. Mary was the apostle to the apostles.
From now on, the disciples related to Jesus as Lord. The characteristic of the new relationship of calling Jesus Lord meant that they related to him in faith. Jesus is now one with God.
Like the first disciples, we get to know Jesus through the dim light of faith in times of sorrow and joy, day by day. Disciples grow in thier understanding of what Jesus means when he says ‘happy are those who do not see and yet believe.’
The accounts of the resurrection are available online for each of the class standards of the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé programme. Access to the online resources on the theme of Easter, including the Grow in Love /I nGrá Dé e-books are available on the VERITAS Grow in Love website.
- In the Easter season God’s people pray ‘Regina Coeli’ at 12 noon and 6.00 p.m. instead of the Angelus. ‘Regina Coeli’ is the Latin Word for Queen of Heaven. Mary, Mother of God is Queen of Heaven. You will find the video lyric for this song in Grow in Love /P6 for Fourth Class
- Pray ‘The Nicene Creed’ from Grow in Love /I nGrá Dé Rang V & Rang VI
- From your Bible or from the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé e-book read ‘The Empty Tomb’ (John 20:1-10) and ‘Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene’ (Jn 20:11-18)
- When Jesus rose to new life, he brought new life to the apostles and the Christian community. Look out your window or go outside and see the new life of spring. Record the ways in which the environment is changing. You may like to take some photos of new life in spring.
Sr Anne Neylon