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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Gospel text (Jn 20,1-9): On the first day after the Sabbath, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark and she saw that the stone blocking the tomb had been moved away. She ran to Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved. And she said to them, «They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don't know where they have laid him».

Peter then set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down and saw the linen cloths lying flat, but he did not enter. Then Simon Peter came following him and entered the tomb; he, too, saw the linen cloths lying flat. The handkerchief, which had been around his head was not lying flat like the other linen cloths but lay rolled up in its place. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and believed. Scripture clearly said that he must rise from the dead, but they had not yet understood that.

«Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and believed»

Mons. Joan Enric VIVES i Sicília Bishop of Urgell (Lleida, Spain)

Today, «is the day when the Lord has acted», as we shall be singing throughout Easter time. As this is the expression of Psalm 117 that fills out the celebration of our Christian faith. The Father has resurrected Jesus Christ, His beloved Son, whom He indulges in because He has loved to the point of giving his life for all of us.

Let us live this Easter with plenty of joy. Christ has risen: so let us celebrate it full of joy and love. Death, sin and sadness, have today been defeated by Jesus Christ... and He has opened the doors to a new life, the real life, the life we owe to the grace of the Holy Spirit. Nobody should be sad. Christ is our Peace and our Path forever and ever. Today, He «fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear» (Vatican Council II, Gaudium et Spes 22).

The great sign the Gospel gives us today is that Jesus' tomb is empty. We have to look no more among the dead for He who is alive has risen. And his disciples, that later on will see him risen, that is, will experience him alive in a wonderful meeting in faith, also realize his tomb is empty. An empty tomb and apparitions will be the great signs for the believer's faith. The Gospel says that «finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed» (Jn 20:8). Through his faith he realizes that the emptiness and the linen cloths lying flat and the napkin rolled up in its place, were all signs God had been there, signs of the new life. Love can see signals where others cannot and small signs may suffice. «The other disciple whom Jesus loved» (Jn 20:2) was led by the love he had received from Christ.

The “seeing and believing” of the disciples must also be our aim. We renew our paschal faith. That Christ be our Lord in everything we do. Let his Life revitalize ours and let us renew the grace of the baptism we have received. Let us become his apostles and disciples. Let us be guided by love and announce to all our happiness to believe in Christ. Let us be hopeful witnesses of his Resurrection.

Other comments

«Vigil Mass•A (Mt 28:1-10): He is not here, for He is risen»

+ Fr. Josep Mª MASSANA i Mola OFM (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, in the Easter Vigil Gospel, there throbs a great dynamism: two women run towards the tomb, suddenly a violent earthquake occurs, an angel rolls the stone from the entrance, the guards tremble in fear and become like dead men. And Jesus, alive and resurrect, meets those women on the way...

Those women are the first ones to experience the resurrection of Jesus, and this, just by looking at the empty sepulcher and at the angel that tells them: «Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He is risen as He said...» (Mt 28:5-6). They are also the first ones to bear witness of their experience: «Go at once and tell his disciples: He is risen...!» (Mt 28:7).

And they believe right away. Their faith, though, is a mixture of holy fear and great joy. They feared greatly the angel's words, announcing a message that goes far beyond all the human expectations. And they felt the joy because of the certainty of our Lord's resurrection, because the Scriptures had been fulfilled, because they had been privileged by the immense joy of experiencing that Paschal mystery. Therefore, faith, while producing a great intimate joy, does not exclude fear.

They run to announce their experience of the Resurrected, which they have felt without actually seeing him. And Jesus rewards this faith by meeting them on the way.

The core of all experience of faith, in the first place, is neither a doctrine nor any dogma. It is the person of Jesus. The faith of the two women in today's Gospel is centered in him, in his person, and in nothing more. They have experienced him alive and they run to proclaim him alive!