Sunday, 1 April 2018 : Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Alleluia! Alleluia! The Lord is risen in glory, He has triumphed over sin and death. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we rejoice together as the whole entire Church celebrating the coming of Easter, after we have spent over a month, forty days to be exact, to prepare ourselves in our body, our mind, our spirit and our soul, to glorify together the Risen Christ, the Lord Our God Who has saved us by His death on the cross and by His defeat of death.

The Scripture readings of Easter Vigil detailed to us the important events in the history of mankind, in the history of our people throughout time, where from time to time, God continued to make His presence and works known to us, beginning with the creation of the world itself, as He created this whole world with all of its living things and all of us, the pinnacle of His creation.

At the same time, the Scripture passages showed us how God delivered His people from harm and renewed the Covenants He had made with them. Ultimately in all of these, God showed us just how much He has loved us, to the point that He was willing to go through all the pains, sorrows and all the persecutions which we remember and we commemorate during the entirety of this Holy Week, meaning His Passion, His suffering and death on the cross.

However, everything that we celebrated throughout the Holy Week, all of them have no meaning if the Lord Jesus has not risen from the dead. The Lord’s glorious entry into Jerusalem, and then the Last Supper where He gave His own Body and Blood to His disciples, and thus from them to us all, and then His crucifixion and death on the cross commemorated on Good Friday, all these had no meaning if the Lord Jesus remained dead. All the promises He had made with us and given us, would have no meaning if He had not risen from the dead.

But the Lord Jesus did rise from the dead, the only one among the sons and daughters of Adam to do so. That is because while He is the Son of Man, born of mankind through His mother Mary, He is also God, Son of the Father, the Divine Word Incarnate, as He took up the flesh of Man, He did not leave behind or be separated from His divinity. Instead, in the person of Jesus Christ, the two natures of Man and God is united while distinct, and in the person of Our Lord Jesus, our salvation has come.

Through His humanity, He has united all of us mankind, and brought us who believe in Him to accepting the death of our past physical existence, our sins and our wickedness. While He was sinless and pure Himself, He willingly took up upon Himself the punishment for all of our sins, which He bore upon the cross. As He died on that cross, all of us Christians have also died to our sins, and shared in the sufferings of Christ, bearing our own crosses in life.

Then, as He, by His own power and majesty, triumphed over death and sin, showing to all that He is God, Who rules over life and death. And as He is God, His divinity is eternal, and by that, He overcame death, and rose from the dead. This is the pinnacle and final event in the long planned salvation which God has promised to all of us, the children of Adam, by showing us that sin and Satan do not have the final say over us.

And just as all of us share in the death of Christ, then all of us who believe in Him, will also share in His resurrection. Through Christ, all of us have been brought to a new life, no longer enslaved to sin, liberated from the chains that bound us. How did He do this, brothers and sisters in Christ? As we all heard from the Scripture passages today, we should have heard about the moment when the Israelites were delivered from the hands of the Egyptians and their Pharaoh at the Red Sea.

At that time, God used His might to free the people of Israel from slavery under the Egyptians, and brought them out of Egypt towards the land He promised to all of them. Then, Pharaoh again hardened his heart and refused to accept the fact that the Israelites were free, and chased them to the Red Sea with his armies and the chariots. Then God told Moses to stretch his hands over the sea, and God opened the Red Sea before the Israelites.

The Israelites walked through the Red Sea to the other side, while the Lord held back the Egyptians and their Pharaoh. Then the Lord destroyed the armies of the Pharaoh of Egypt in the Red Sea after the Israelites have safely passed through the waters. This, brothers and sisters in Christ, is what was celebrated at the Jewish Passover, the most important event in the Jewish calendar and celebrations.

The symbolism of water is very powerful indeed, and it is linked to why baptisms of those who accepted the faith and converted to the Christian faith are conducted optimally during this celebration of Easter Vigil, or at least on Easter Sunday. That is because, in the Sacrament of Baptism, by the holy water blessed on this day, those who are baptised receive cleansing from their original sins, and made pure to be a clean and pure slate, a new life in God.

And water is both a symbol of death as well as life. Water can both destroy as well as bring life and sustain it. Water can be a very destructive force as we see in tsunamis and huge waves, as well as floods and heavy rains. And thus, our old life is ‘destroyed’ by the water and we are made anew by the life-giving property of water. At that time, the Israelites passed through the water of the Red Sea from their old life of slavery into a new freedom, while we passed through the waters of Baptism from our old, sinful life into a new life filled with God’s grace.

Thus, Easter is also a Passover which supersedes and far exceeds the original Passover. This Christian Passover marks the moment when the Lord liberates us mankind, His beloved people, from our slavery to sin. This is just as how the Lord liberated His people from their enslavement by the Egyptians. All of us who have sinned, are enslaved by those sins, and unless we are freed from those sins, we will endure death and damnation, separation from God.

Why is that so? That is because sins corrupt us, and corruption and wickedness have no place before God, Who is all good and perfect. Thus, if we have sinned, and did not have those sins purified, we cannot be with God, and that was why our ancestors Adam and Eve were banished from God’s presence in Eden in the first place, for their disobedience and thus sin against God.

God loves each and every one of us, brothers and sisters, and that is why, even though He despises our sins and wickedness, He loves each and every one of us regardless. From the smallest to the greatest of sinners, He loves us all, and He wants each and every one of us to be reconciled to Him. If He has shown His mercy and love to the Israelites, the people with whom He first made His Covenant, faithful to His Covenant with Abraham, His servant, then surely He also wants us all, every one of the children of Adam and Eve, to be saved from our slavery to sin?

All of us Christians have been given this great grace of forgiveness through our baptism. But, as we make the renewal of our baptismal promises this Easter, let us all reflect on our lives thus far. Have we lived our Christian lives earnestly and with faith in God? Or have we lapsed back into our old ways and to our sins that God has cleansed through our baptism? We need to reflect on this so that our Easter celebrations can be truly meaningful.

Let us ask ourselves this important question, “What is a Christian to us? What does being a Christian mean to us?” Does a Christian mean for us to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? Yes, it does. And then, does a Christian mean that we need to go for the Holy Mass every Sunday? Yes, it does. But is that all that we need to do, brothers and sisters in Christ? No, certainly it is not.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us need to realise that as Christians, each and every one of us are called to the same mission which God has entrusted to us, that is to be His witnesses, the witnesses of His resurrection and as the bearers of His Good News to people of all the nations, by going forth to preach the Good News and the truth, not just by words, but also through our actions and exemplary deeds of faith.

Therefore, let us all be true disciples and followers of the Lord, that is as true and devout Christians, doing His will and walking righteously in His path always. Let us all be true witnesses of His resurrection, that even though we have not seen Him physically risen from the dead, but through our fervent and genuine faith, we will declare His glorious resurrection and triumph over sin and death to all the people.

May the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, Our triumphant Lord and King be with us always, that together, all of us Christians, who believe in Him, in His Passion, in His suffering and death, and in His resurrection in glory, may share fully in Him, the glory of eternal life with Him. May the Risen Lord bless us all, and may He keep us all in His everlasting love and grace. Amen.

Sunday, 1 April 2018 : Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 1-9

At that time, 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 do not 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 napkin, 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.

Alternative reading

Matthew 28 : 1-10

At that time, after the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a violent earthquake : an Angel of the Lord descending from heaven, came to the stone, rolled it from the entrance of the tomb, and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning and his garment white as snow. The guards trembled in fear and became like dead man when they saw the Angel.

The Angel said to the women, “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. Come, see the place where they laid Him; then go at once and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there. This is my message for you.

They left the tomb at once in fear, yet with great joy, and they ran to tell the news to His disciples. Suddenly, Jesus met them on the way and said, “Rejoice!” The woman approached Him, embraced His feet and worshipped Him. But Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid! Go and tell My brothers to set out for Galilee; there they will see Me.”

Alternative reading (Evening Mass)

Luke 24 : 13-35

At that time, on the same day Jesus rose from the dead, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them. But their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

He asked, “What is it you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then the one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems You are the only traveller to Jerusalem who does not know what haw happened there these past few days.” And He asked, “What is it?”

They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet, You know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced Him to death. They handed Him over to be crucified. We had hoped that He would redeem Israel. It is now the third day since all this took place.”

“It is also true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find His Body; and they came and told us that they had had a vision of Angels, who said that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not find a Body in the tomb.”

He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter His glory?” Then starting with Moses, and going through the prophets, He explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning Himself.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?” They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem.

There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

Sunday, 1 April 2018 : Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Colossians 3 : 1-4

So then, if you are risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on earthly things. For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is your life, reveals Himself, you also will be revealed with Him in Glory.

Alternative reading

1 Corinthians 5 : 6b-8

Do you not know that a little yeast makes the whole mass of dough rise? Throw out, then, the old yeast and be new dough. If Christ became our Passover, you should be unleavened bread. Let us celebrate, therefore, the Passover, no longer with old yeast, which is sin and perversity; let us have unleavened bread, that is purity and sincerity.

Sunday, 1 April 2018 : Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 117 : 1-2, 16ab-17, 22-23

Alleluia! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His loving kindness endures forever. Let Israel say, “His loving kindness endures forever.”

The right hand of the Lord is lifted high, the right hand of the Lord strikes mightily! I shall not die, but live to proclaim what the Lord has done.

The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing and we marvel at it.

Sunday, 1 April 2018 : Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 10 : 34a, 37-43

Peter then spoke to them, “No doubt you have heard of the event that occurred throughout the whole country of the Jews, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism John preached. You know how God anointed Jesus the Nazarean with Holy Spirit and power.”

“He went about doing good and healing all who were under the devil’s power, because God was with Him; we are witnesses of all that He did throughout the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem itself. Yet they put Him to death by hanging Him on a wooden cross.”

But God raised Him to life on the third day and let Him manifest Himself, not to all the people, but to the witnesses that were chosen beforehand by God – to us who ate and drank with Him after His resurrection from death. And He commanded hs to preach to the people and to bear witness that He is the One appointed by God to judge the living and the dead. All the prophets say of Him, that everyone who believes in Him has forgiveness of sins through His Name.”

(Usus Antiquior) Easter Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 1 April 2018 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : White

Offertory

Psalm 75 : 9-10

Terra tremuit, et quievit, dum resurgeret in judicio Deus, Alleluja.

 

English translation

The earth trembled and was still, when God arose in judgment. Alleluia.

 

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Suscipe, quaesumus, Domine, preces populi Tui cum oblationibus hostiarum : ut, paschalibus initiata mysteriis, ad aeternitatis nobis medelam, Te operante, proficiant. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Receive, we beseech You, o Lord, the prayers of Your people with the offerings of sacrifices, that the things begun in the Paschal mysteries may, by Your operation, avail us for a healing remedy unto life everlasting. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

 

Preface of Easter

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare : Te quidem, Domine, omni tempore, sed in hac potissimum die (in hoc potissimum) gloriosus praedicare, cum Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus. Ipse enim verus est Agnus, qui abstulit peccata mundi. Qui mortem nostram moriendo destruxit et vitam resurgendo reparavit. Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus cumque omni militiae caelestis exercitus hymnum gloriae Tuae canimus, sine fine dicentes :

 

English translation

It is truly meet and just, right and profitable, to extol You indeed at all times, o Lord, but chiefly with highest praise to magnify You on this day (in these days) on which for us Christ, our Paschal Lamb, was sacrificed. For He is the true Lamb who had taken away the sins of the world, who by dying Himself had destroyed our death, and by rising again had bestowed a new life on us. And therefore with the Angels and Archangels, with the Thrones and Dominions, and with all the array of the heavenly host we sing a hymn to Your glory and unceasingly repeat.

 

Communion

1 Corinthians 5 : 7-8

Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus, Alleluja : itaque epulemur in azymis sinceritatis et veritatis, Alleluja, Alleluja, Alleluja.

 

English translation

Christ, our Paschal Lamb is sacrificed, Alleluia. Therefore let us feast in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

 

Post-Communion Prayer

Spiritum nobis, Domine, Tuae caritatis infunde : ut, quos sacramentis paschalibus satiasti, Tua facias pietate concordes. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate ejusdem Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Pour upon us, o Lord, the Spirit of Your love, to make us of one mind, whom by Your tender mercy, You have filled with the Paschal sacrament. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Easter Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 1 April 2018 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : White

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Marcum – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark

Mark 16 : 1-7

In illo tempore : Maria Magdalene et Maria Jacobi et Salome emerunt aromata, ut venientes ungerent Jesum. Et valde mane una sabbatorum, veniunt ad monumentum, orto jam sole. Et dicebant ad invicem : Quis revolvet nobis lapidem ab ostio monumenti? Et respicientes viderunt revolutum lapidem. Erat quippe magnus valde.

Et introeuntes in monumentum viderunt juvenem sedentem in dextris, coopertum stola candida, et obstupuerunt. Qui dicit illis : Nolite expavescere : Jesum quaeritis Nazarenum, crucifixum : surrexit, non est hic, ecce locus, ubi posuerunt eum. Sed ite, dicite discipulis ejus et Petro, quia praecedit vos in Galilaeam : ibi eum videbitis, sicut dixit vobis.

 

English translation

At that time, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the mother of James and Salome brought sweet spices, that they might use to anoint Jesus. And very early in the morning of the first day of the week, they came to the sepulchre, the sun having risen, and they said to one another, “Who shall roll back the stone from the door of the sepulchre?” And looking upon it, they saw that the stone had been rolled back, for it was very great.

And as they entered into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed with a white robe, and they were astonished. He said to them, “Do not be afraid, you who seek Jesus of Nazareth, He who was crucified. He is risen, He is not here, behold the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, that He had gone before you into Galilee, and there you shall see Him, as He had told you.”