The Easter Sunday of the
Resurrection of the Lord
Mass of Easter Day
April 4, 2021, Cycle B
Fr. José Maria de Sousa Alvim Calado Cortes, F.S.C.B.
Chaplain, Saint John Paul II National Shrine, Washington, D.C.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

“Christians, to the Paschal Victim offer your thankful praises!” (Sequence). Today our hearts are flooded with gratitude and joy! Christ is risen! He is truly risen!

As today’s responsorial psalm says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever” (Ps 118:1).

We give you thanks and we praise you Father because you are great and your love is infinite! You sent us your Son to save us! You want to share your eternal life with us! As today’s responsorial psalm says, “It is wonderful in our eyes” (Ps 118: 23).

Easter reminds us that we are God’s beloved sons and daughters. After the homily, today we are going to renew the promises of our Baptism. May this rite of the renewal of our baptismal promises renew our certainty that we are truly loved by God!

We are all children of God, the Father’s little boys and girls. Let us be childlike and humble, as Jesus tells us: “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3).

In today’s Gospel, there is a crescendo. First Mary Magdalene finds the tomb empty and tells the apostles. It is still dark. The apostles run to the tomb. They see the empty tomb and all the burial clothes in order. Finally, there is an act of faith in the resurrection: “The other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. (Cf. Jn 20:8). Then the sun broke through the darkness of the night. Faith makes us pass from darkness to light. As Psalm 30 says, “You changed my mourning into dancing; you took off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness” (Ps 30:12).

In order to be surprised and excited about the resurrection of the Lord, we need to seek him. Today’s first reading says: “Seek what is above […] Think of what is above” (Col 3:1–2).

In today’s Gospel, everybody is running. Mary Magdalene runs from the tomb to tell the disciples that it was empty. Peter and John run to the tomb to see what happened. The resurrection impels us. The joy of Easter impels us. As the prophet Habakkuk says, “I will rejoice in the Lord and exult in God my savior. The Lord my God is my strength. He makes me leap like the deer, he guides me to the high places” (Hab 3:19).

“For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead” (Jn 20:9). The event of the resurrection is the fulfillment of the Scripture. In today’s first reading, Saint Peter says: “To him all the prophets bear witness” (Act 10:43). The Risen Lord fulfills the Scripture, as he fulfills the cosmos and our lives. In the glorious Christ, all things find completion. In him, we find happiness without end.

The knowledge of the resurrection compels us to bear witness. We are witnesses of the resurrection! More than ever, we need  the proclamation of the gospel of the resurrection. There is too much fear of death in the world. Our mission is to proclaim to our brothers and sisters that death has been conquered and to help them encounter the Risen Lord.

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Let us rejoice and be glad! May the Lord give us the grace of recapturing the surprise and excitement that the resurrection brought to the first disciples! May this Easter be  life changing! May this celebration fill our hearts with a new joy! May the peaceful light of Easter shine upon us! May the risen Lord show us his glorious face! May he bring us fullness of life!  Alleluia!