Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection March 31, 2024


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R/. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad.

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/. Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival in the Lord.

R/. Alleluia.

On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going towards the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

When the Sabbath was past Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”

1.      Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ is the greatest testimony of Life. God is life, and our God is a “living” God, the Emmanuel, God-with-us.= No power of Satan, no fetters of death, no forces of evil, no closure of tomb, can restrain him from rising, or separate him from living with us. He lives with us forever, because he is Life and ever alive. His rising assures and comforts us that sin and death have no power over him. Evil seems to have a loud and mocking laugh over good, but that is only short-lived. The Final smile is of God and of good.

2.      Thus the Easter Feast is truly a Victory Day. It is not something peripheral or superficial. It is not just God’s victory over Satan, not just Saviour’s victory over the Evil one, not just the Holy Spirit’s over the evil spirit. It is not a “personal score” that is settled between God and Evil. But something fundamental and foundational, crucial and essential.

3.      The victory of Easter involves the whole creation, the whole humanity. It touches upon the whole life, the whole person, the whole destiny. It is a comprehensive and holistic victory. It is the victory of all of us. It is the victory of our faith. It is the victory of good over evil, of love over hate, of mercy over violence, of benevolence over condemnation, of humility over arrogance, of patience over fury, of altruism over egoism, of generosity over greed, of sharing over accumulation, of giving over grabbing, of detachment over clinging, of nobility over fragility, of forgiveness over revenge, of loyalty over disloyalty, of stability over instability, of conviction over compromise, of authenticity over duplicity, of integrity over guile, of truth over falsity, of the spiritual over the unspiritual, of the above over the below, of light over darkness, of life over death,

4.      Thus, in this victory of God’s life over the death imposed by evil, first of all, we have the greatest comfort and encouragement that God never leaves us.  God who rose to life, will not allow any forces, any pressures that stifle and choke life, that diminish and destroy life. It is true that many times, in our society, in our times, in our lives, evil seems stronger than good. Wickedness and insincerity seem more advantageous, while goodness and honesty seem to be boring, tiring, and useless. In those situations, one can easily feel that entrusting oneself to God and dedicating oneself to good, is useless. One feels that it is better, safe, and advantageous to follow the world, to walk according to the wind, and to compromise with evil and false values.

5.      Precisely in those moments, we must turn our gaze on to the cross, and to the crucified Lord. The battle he made to the end, in confidence, courage, and perseverance, is never useless. Trust in good, trust in God is never wasteful. The struggle of the good is only temporary. There is no defeat, there is no fall, there is no loss, for those who trust in God and walk in good. The last victory is always of God, and good. Clouds will not be permanent in the sky but only for a while. The darkness will not be long forever but the light of the Lord shines. Good Friday, darkness, and pain are only for a few hours. But the glory, the joy of the resurrection is forever.

6.      Jesus asks Mary Magdalene weeping at his tomb, “Woman, why do you weep?” (Jn. 20.15). Yes, the same question is posed to each one of us, especially to those who feel down and let down, those who despair: “My brother, my sister, why do you weep? Why do you lose your heart? Am I not with you? Have I not walked the  same way?

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