Local Homilies

April 21, 2019

Easter Sunday
The Resurrection of the Lord
Lectionary: 42

The Mass of Easter Day

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.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23.

R. (24) This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
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.
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.
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.
R. Alleluia.

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.

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.
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Homily April 21
Acts 10:34,37-43; Psalm 118:1-2,16-17,22-23; Colossians 3:1-4; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; John 20:1-9
The first Easter celebration was celebrated in doubt and fear because those who witnessed the events of the Good Friday were still in shock of the horrible experiences that Jesus went through.
▪If one finds oneself under anxiety, the fundamental thing it does is that it blocks us from seeing possibilities around us. It was in this great moment of anxiety and desperation that the apostles were when they heard the breaking news “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” Without thinking twice Peter and John began their marathon race to the grave to confirm this news.
▪It was a bad news for them because there was no trace of who took the body nor where it could be found. “What would become our fate?”, they asked. Have we laboured in vain by believing in this man whose body is nowhere to be found?
▪Who must have done this? But there was one thing they could not fathom well, why were the burial cloth and the cloth that covered His head separately folded? The person who did this should have taken both of them, why were they not taken? These among other questions were going on in their minds.
▪The Lord left the clothes as an evidence to them that what He told them about His resurrection had taken place. He was now clothed in glory and had replaced the burial clothes. They did not understand this, this was why the first Easter did not have the joyful Alleluia of our Easter today.
▪Later in the future, Peter testified as a witness that the events of Easter happened as we can see in the first reading. Their understanding had been broadened and they dauntlessly proclaimed that Jesus overcame the power of death. Even in the face of death they remained courageous proclaiming this truth about the resurrection.
▪Dear friend, it is still clear that many in the world have not yet understood the scripture that Jesus resurrected from death. This is evidenced in what the apostle Paul is telling us today that we have to seek things that are above by putting aside things that are old. If we do not love those who hurt or hate us, it is evidence that Jesus has not resurrected in us. If we still live in selfishness that others are starving around us, it is a sign that Jesus is still in the grave. If we prefer to be generous to preserve things while we neglect those who are dying in numbers, who are homeless in the world, who are living in poverty, it is a sign that we have not seen Jesus in these suffering humanity. Even after the first Easter experience of doubt and fear, we are yet to understand that the meaning of resurrection is that God dwells in our midst as a sign of love for the suffering humanity. May the power of resurrection raise us to look at things that are above, where Christ dwells forever. Amen
“Let us not stay imprisoned within ourselves, but let us break open our sealed tombs to the Lord – each of us knows what they are – so that he may enter and grant us life.” Pope Francis, Excerpt from the Magnificat, Holy Week 2019, Vol. 21, No. 1, p. 267
Have a great Easter celebration
May God bless you with the joy of the Resurrection
Fr Joseph Chukwugozie Ikegbunam

Holy Angels Parish and St Mary’s Parish, St Albans, Vermont