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Running for the Good News

April 4, 2021   Easter Sunday The Resurrection of the Lord, The Mass of Easter Day (Lectionary: 42)

Reading I   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.”

Responsorial Psalm   118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
R. (24) This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
R. Alleluia.
“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. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
R. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading II   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.

OR:

I Cor 5:6b-8

Brothers and sisters:
Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough?
Clear out the old yeast,
so that you may become a fresh batch of dough,
inasmuch as you are unleavened.
For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.
Therefore, let us celebrate the feast,
not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness,
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Sequence
Victimae paschali laudes
Christians, to the Paschal Victim
Offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems;
Christ, who only is sinless,
Reconciles sinners to the Father.
Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous:
The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.
Speak, Mary, declaring
What you saw, wayfaring.
“The tomb of Christ, who is living,
The glory of Jesus’ resurrection;
Bright angels attesting,
The shroud and napkin resting.
Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;
to Galilee he goes before you.”
Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!
Amen. Alleluia.

Alleluia   Cf. 1 Cor 5:7b-8a
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed;
let us then feast with joy in the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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.

By John Barrett

The most challenging paper I was ever assigned to write in college was not what one might expect. No, it was not one of those long term papers that requires hours of tedious research and meticulous writing. It was a mere three page essay for a Christology class that involved a single question: “What actually happened at the Resurrection?”

To be honest, I can’t remember what I wrote. I do remember how I wrote it though. The magnitude of the question left me paralyzed.

How could I look to the central mystery of my faith and come up with some original answer as to how it unfolded?

I ended up going to the library to write what would be a cop-out essay. With my course textbook close by, I combined different ideas proposed by various theologians and gave an answer that relied more on others’ voices than my own.

Years have passed since I was assigned to write that paper. Even though the semester ended and the grades were determined, I find that this paper is still being written in my life. I return to the question again and again in an effort to discover more of what happened on that first Easter morning.

At some point, my understanding of the question itself changed as I surrendered to the idea that I will never answer what actually happened at the Resurrection.

After all, maybe the Resurrection is not a question that needs answering, but a mystery that needs entering.

Today, I enter into the mystery of the Resurrection by accompanying Simon Peter, John, and Mary of Magdala on their journey to and from the tomb. I’m always deeply moved at how the Gospel author, John, describes this journey: they ran!

In discovering the empty tomb before the sun rises, Mary of Magdala runs to tell her friends. And reacting to this news, Simon Peter and John sprint to the tomb to see for themselves. Now, I’m no runner. But, every Holy Saturday I go to bed imagining what it would be like to wake the next morning and run to the empty tomb.

How would I have reacted to the good news brought to my door?

Would I have sprinted? Would I have tired from running or would my hopeful expectation have kept me steadfast? My heart marinates in these questions and I enter into the mystery of the Resurrection.

Simon Peter’s pronouncement on the Resurrection in today’s first reading similarly invites me to enter into the mystery. Simon Peter writes “he went about doing good and healing all those oppressed...for God was with him.” An integral piece of my entering into the mystery of the Resurrection involves not only looking into the tomb, but looking to the world outside the tomb once I’ve discovered that Jesus is no longer bound to death.

I think Simon Peter’s pronouncement shapes what I am called to do in the world in light of the Resurrection - to take up the ministry of Christ by doing good and healing all those oppressed...for God is with me. My heart marinates in these actions and I enter into the mystery of the Resurrection.

In the end, there is no end.

The betrayal is not the end; the arrest is not the end; the cross is not the end; even the tomb is not the end! This is the joy that the Good News brings. This is what the apostles ran toward. This shapes how I will act. This is how the paper is still being written.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

John Barrett is a Cleveland native who spends most of his time teaching ninth grade Theology, enjoying the company of his family and friends, and fly-fishing on the Rocky River. John teaches courses on Scripture and Christology and encourages his students to approach course material with Jacob - the Old Testament figure - in mind. John encourages students to adopt Jacob’s encounter with the Angel of the Lord by wrestling with the material in front of them even if it means they leave the experience a changed person.

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