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.
Good News Reflection:
Are you ready to proclaim the Good News about how Jesus has helped you? What holds you back? Do you hesitate because you don’t yet understand how the deaths in your life (the sacrifices, the lost hope, the broken relationships, etc.) have been resurrected into new life?
Such hesitation was the mental state of the disciples on the first Easter morning, as depicted in the Gospel of John.
The attitude of Peter in the reading from Acts is quite a contrast! The disciples now know their calling: They were empowered and commissioned to testify that Jesus is the Savior, and they fully embraced this vocation.
Do you understand how Jesus is turning your tragedies and other difficulties into triumphs and great blessings?
To “testify” means to share the truth based on your own experiences. Peter specifically proclaimed that everyone who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins. Of course he did! Peter knew first-hand what it’s like to need and then receive Christ’s forgiveness.
We will not understand much about how our sufferings have led us to a new and blessed life until we start talking about it. The first inklings of insight awaken when we discuss it within our close, holy friendships, like Mary of Magdala did when she ran to Peter and John after discovering the empty tomb. They, in turn, told the other disciples.
It was while they were together — in community — that Jesus appeared and revealed his resurrection to them. Later, after having lots of time to talk about it with friends, the Holy Spirit empowered them to go out and evangelize the world by sharing their experiences with anyone willing to listen.
Questions for Personal Reflection:
The empty tomb doesn’t immediately make sense. What has been confusing to you during your faith journey? What has caused you to feel empty and frightened? Where might Jesus be in this?
Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
How have your own experiences of being forgiven enabled you to feel more compassionate toward others? Does that change the way you talk to them about God and church and other spiritual or moral issues? What is the biggest change that Jesus has brought into your life? What were you like before this change? How did God intervene? What were the results? This is your testimony. Practice sharing it by telling the story to your community of friends.
Lord Jesus Christ, give me the guidance and strength I need when I look for you in the wrong places. May I understand and believe that at the appointed time, You will come to meet me. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica