Fr Vincent's reflections on Easter Sunday 2021
Alleluia, Alleluia! Jesus is Risen! Alleluia, Alleluia! We celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! Yet, you and I are still challenged to believe without seeing so that we can, even here and now, live that risen life ourselves. May God help you to rise with Jesus this day!
Watch the video: Fr Vincent's reflections on Easter Sunday 2021
Read the script:
Easter 2021 (April 4, 2021)
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. R/. Amen.
The Grace and Peace of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. R/. And with your spirit.
On this Easter Sunday, 2021, let us pray:
O God, who on this day,
through your Only Begotten Son,
have conquered death
and unlocked for us the path to eternity,
grant we pray, that we who keep
the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection
may, through the renewal brought by your Spirit,
rise up in the light of life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. R/. Amen.
Please pause this video and retrieve your Bible so you can follow along.
The Gospel today is John 20:1-9.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.
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.
The Gospel of the Lord. R/. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Alleluia! Jesus is risen from the dead! Alleluia!
The empty tomb is the first “proof” of Jesus’ Resurrection. Before any of the disciples saw the Risen Lord, they saw nothing! – no body, just empty wrappings. So, to see nothing and still believe, that is faith. To believe without sight or sensory experience is the invitation of this Easter morning for you and me. We know the story of the Resurrection; we believe the story, more or less.
Doubt is a normal stance for any person to take before accepting such an extraordinary story about rising from the dead. We need proof, even though Jesus made the promise to rise from the dead. He told his disciples several times over this would happen after his death. Jesus even brought several people back to life – the synagogue official’s daughter, the son of the widow from Nain, and his friend Lazarus. Next weekend we will have the Gospel story of Thomas who directly declares his disbelief in the Resurrection.
But today we are asked to see nothing and believe, just as John did when he entered the tomb behind Peter. Easter is about letting go of this world to embrace our spiritual existence. As long as we put too much emphasis and attachment to this material world, we will never fully appreciate the Risen Life of Jesus and our call to live that life. Because we want to see and touch and taste and smell and hear the world around us, we cannot fully accept the life that Jesus offers us. Jesus has broken the chains that hold us to this world and its limitations so that you and I can open ourselves to living our lives prepared for heaven.
We are invited to “let go” of this world, even if we continue to live in this world for the time being. We need to be able to say there is nothing here more important than my faith in Jesus and my spiritual union with him as my Risen Lord. Resurrection is not merely a future event for us, but a way of life now to ensure that future event truly happens! You see, (pun intended), seeing nothing and still choosing to believe and live a fully spiritual life is how I prove to myself I do believe in the Resurrection, my resurrection.
Even if we need other proofs for the Resurrection of Jesus, as Thomas needed, unless we accept “nothing” as proof, you and I will never fully live now the spiritual life we are called to embrace, and we will always have doubts about our own future. The true joy of Easter is not only Jesus rising from the dead, but the truth that we too will rise with him because we believe seeing nothing!
And now, I would like to offer you the Solemn Blessing of Easter:
The Lord be with you. R/. And with your spirit.
Bow down for the blessing.
May almighty God bless you
through today’s Easter Solemnity
and, in his compassion,
defend you from every assault of sin. R/. Amen.
And may he, who restores you to eternal life
in the Resurrection of his Only Begotten,
endow you with the prize of immortality. R/. Amen.
Now that the days of the Lord’s Passion have drawn to a close,
may you who celebrate the gladness of the Paschal Feast
come with Christ’s help, and exulting in spirit,
to those feasts that are celebrated in eternal joy. R/. Amen.
And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever. R/. Amen.
Live in the peace of Christ, Alleluia, Alleluia!
R/. Thanks be to God, Alleluia, Alleluia!