Readings: 1st Reading – Acts 10:34A, 37-43/ Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23/ 2nd Reading: Colossians 3:1-4 Or 1 Corinthians 5:6B-8/ Gospel: John 20:1-9
The Easter Sunday Reflection is given by Mr Pierre Nyandwi, SJ, former Assistant director Jesuit Urumuri Center (JUC), Rwanda
At the glance, all the readings revolve around one theme: the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The gospel according to John invites the belief in the authenticity of the resurrection of Jesus. The letter to the Colossians, that is, the second reading, invites those who feel they were raised with Christ to search for what is above, where Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. Finally, the first reading, the acts of the apostles, invites the belief in Jesus; and the testimony that Jesus is the one appointed by God to judge the living and the dead.
Seemingly, there is a kind of consequentialism visible in the three texts. To arrive at those consequences, one must develop some attitudes including intelligence and faith. In the gospel, three passages caught my attention. First, Mary Magdalene after seeing the tomb open, believed that Jesus was stolen. She runs and tells the other disciples: “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him”. In this expression, one notices fear mixed with indignation accompanying some lack of faith in what Jesus said many times in his lifetime.
Many times, Jesus announced that he would be killed, buried, and on the third day rise from the dead. Yet, the empty tomb did not remind Magdalene of all Jesus said. Even when Peter and the other disciple arrived, one sees fear and incomprehension. It is only when the other disciple manages to enter the tomb that things become clear. The commentator criticizes the epistemological state of the disciples saying: “They did not yet understand the Scripture that he must rise from the dead”. in fact, up to the point Peter witnessed the emptiness of the tomb, things are not clear; there is confusion lingering on the head and heart of the disciples. The entrance of Peter into the tomb and his detailed scrutiny of the whole situation, proving that the Lord is no longer in the tomb, drops even the little hope that was left. The commentator again appreciates the other disciple: “He saw and believed”. Remembering what the Lord used to say concerning his life and connecting everything with the events, the other disciple got the sense of what had happened.
My takeaway is that the gospel talks about the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus has risen from the dead. It’s no more time for mourning and losing hope, rather it is time for joy and celebrations. For Jesus is not taken away by anyone of bad intention as Magdalene thought. The gospel also is saying that the resurrection is a matter of faith as is seen in the attitude of the other disciple; understanding and believing the Scripture suffice. Except for a few people who got the chance to see Jesus after his resurrection, there is no fact by which one is to grasp the mystery of the resurrection.
Let us pray that the Lord grants us the courage to read and understand the Scriptures; gives us the grace to believe in what we read. Amen.
By, Pierre Nyandwi,sj
Salamanca, Spain, April 7, 2023.