Gen 1:1-2:2, Ps 104:1-2,5-6,10,12-14,24,35
or Ps 33:4-7,12-13,20,22;
Gen 22:1-18, Ps 16:5,8-11;
Ex 14:15-15:1, Ex 15;
Is 54:5-14 Ps 30:2,4-5,11-13;
Is 55:1-11, Is 12;
Bar 3:9-15,32-4:4, Ps 19:8-11;
Ez 36:16-28, Ps 42:2-3,5,42:3-4 or Ps 51:12-15,18-19;
Rom 6:3-11, Ps 118:1-2,16-17,22-23;
Reading 1: Acts 10: 34, 37-43 Peter concludes his address on the first Pentecost to the crowds of Jerusalem. He relates Jesus’ last days and his commission to the twelve.
Reading 2: Col 3: 1-4 or 1Cor 5: 6-8 Paul tells the Colossians that in baptism they have died and risen with Christ, and he points to the final day when we shall appear with him in glory.
Gospel: Jn 20: 1-9 Mary Magdalen discovers Jesus’ empty tomb, runs to tell the Apostles Peter and John, who in turn run to the tomb and find Mary’s claim verified. (or Mk 16:1-8, Lk 24:13-25)
SHARING IN SUFFERING AND HIS GLORY
The pain of being rejected, forgotten or forsaken by someone we love is very hurting. The wound is all the deeper especially if we have trusted that person with all our heart. With our hopes and expectations crushed we feel dejected, betrayed and sorrowful. This feeling of abandonment is also experienced by spiritual persons in their relationship with God. We say that we love God and we trust him completely, but suddenly out of the blue, some tragic event takes place leaving us shattered. During such moments we begin to question, “Does God love me? Does he even care for me? Why is he not answering my prayer?” Hanging on the cross, Jesus too felt the absence of God and cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46)
Only the Easter event gives us true hope and helps us find answers to these questions. The letter to the Hebrews shows us how Jesus, “for the sake of the joy that lay before him, endured the cross, despising its shame, taking his seat at the right of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:2) The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches us that faith in God can be put to the test by the experience of evil and suffering. God can sometimes seem to be absent and incapable of stopping evil. But in the most mysterious way, the Father has revealed his omnipotence in the voluntary humiliation and glorious resurrection of his son, by which he conquered evil.
Like St Paul, we must simply accept that, “the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1Cor 1:25) As the Lord says in Isaiah, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Is 55:9) The answer that faith gives to the problem of suffering, is the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. The CCC explains that Jesus’ violent death was not the result of an unfortunate coincidence of circumstances, but a part of the mystery of God’s salvific plan for the world.
St Peter elucidates in the first reading today. The way of the cross freely chosen by Christ was the fitting and perfect, both in order to strike at all of our own ‘evils’ at their very root, and to offer us a way to follow, a way that he himself trod in all the weakness of his humanity. This is why St Peter asserts that we have been called for this, “because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” (1 Pt 2:21). This means that we who believe in Christ, are also called to follow the path that Jesus freely chose – the path of suffering, so that we may share with him the joy of the resurrection.
“But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly.” (1 Pt 4:13) As St Paul puts it, “…if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” (Rom 8:17) St John of the Cross similarly taught, that “he who seeks not the cross of Christ seeks not the glory of Christ.” In our sufferings, St Paul reminds us that “… all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28) From him, we also learn that “… the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us.” (Rom 8:18) “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Cor 4:17) Therefore, Paul, through his letter to the Colossians, urges us in the second reading today to keep our minds fixed on things that are in heaven and not on things that are on earth; for we shall experience in the resurrection, “what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived; the things God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor 2:9)
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 118: 1-2,15-17,22-24 This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad. (or) Alleluia!!
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