Reading I: Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Reading II: Colossians 3:1-4
Vigil Gospel: Matthew 28:1-10
Easter Gospel 1: John 20:1-9
Easter Gospel 2: Luke 24:13-35

Alleluia! He Is Risen!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Christ has risen from the dead! As I write this reflection, I eagerly await the celebrations of Holy Week, culminating in the joy-filled liturgy of the Easter Vigil. It is always the high point of the year for me as my parish community celebrates our Lord’s triumph over sin and death.

The Church offers a richness of Scriptures on Easter. We have different gospels for the Easter Vigil, Easter morning, and Easter Day. Each one has something to offer us about how we experience the risen Lord in our lives.

Three Windows to the Resurrection

At the Easter Vigil we hear Matthew’s account of the Resurrection. In Matthew, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary meet a majestic angel at the empty tomb. The angel charges them to tell the other disciples about the Resurrection. They run quickly to tell the disciples, fearful and at the same time filled with joy.

Easter morning we hear from the Gospel of John. In this account Mary Magdalene alone comes to the tomb. She finds it empty and thinks the body has been stolen. Peter and the beloved disciple run to the tomb and marvel at the carefully rolled up burial shroud and the beloved disciple immediately believes.

Finally, during Easter day, we hear from the Gospel of Luke. It is the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. When Jesus appears to them, they do not recognize him at first. Jesus has to open up the Scriptures and break bread with them before they see him for who he is and believe.

It’s All Good!

I find it marvelous that the revelation of Scripture doesn’t present us with one “right” way to respond to the Good News. There are some people like the beloved disciple who have the gift of intuitive faith. They believe without having to struggle too much. There are others who move to faith after a crisis or a miraculous event, like the Mary’s at the tomb. And there are those who need to study and understand intellectually before they see Christ present before them, as the disciples on the way to Emmaus.

And you know what? It’s all good! The Scriptures don’t raise one of these ways of believing as better than another way. God takes us wherever we are and gives us whatever we need. Faith is a gift and that gift comes to different people in different ways. Praise be to God!

So this Easter… who are you most like?

Are you like the Mary’s in Matthew, eager to tell others the wonderful news of salvation, yet afraid of how you will be received?
Are you like the beloved disciple in John, just standing in joyful belief and soaking in the wonder of God’s awesome love and power?
Or are you like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, needing to study and understand how it all fits together?

Understanding these differences can help you determine what you need to do to foster a deeper faith in God’s saving love!

Happy Easter!

Original article by Brian Singer-Towns, 2002 – 2020.
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