"The Lord's Day" Gospel Reflection for April, 12, 2020, Easter Sunday (John 20: 1-9) Featured
Nicholas Pierlot gives a reflection on John 20:1-9, Jesus' resurrection and the finding of the empty tomb.
To assist in this time, St. Therese Institute would like to share some resources to keep your Sabbath day holy.
- Magnificat has made available a free, online subscription to their monthly publication of daily prayer, mass readings, and reflections by saints and pertinent theologians. A free PDF of the Sunday mass readings (using the NAB translation), with reflections, a form of liturgy of the hours, etc. is available at this link: ENGLISH https://us.magnificat.net/free FRENCH https://canada.magnificat.net/
As quoted from their website, Magnificat is:
"... a spiritual guide to help you develop your prayer life, grow in your spiritual life, find a way to a more profound love for Christ, and participate in the holy Mass with greater fervor."
Magnificat is a monthly publication designed for daily use, to encourage both liturgical and personal prayer. It can be used to follow daily Mass and can also be read at home or wherever you find yourself for personal or family prayer."
- Another good resource is Universalis.com. This is a free web resource that contains the Liturgy of the Hours and the daily mass readings with helpful instructions and various service. As well, one can use Canada's lectionary by selecting it in the settings.
It is our hope that these resources may support your life of prayer and devotion.
John 20:1-9 – Sunday Gospel Reflection – Easter Sunday
Nicholas Pierlot, Assistant Director of Formation, St. Therese Institute of Faith and Mission
April 12, 2020
The Gospel begins in darkness. It is in the dark that both horrible and wonderful events take place. Darkness is the shadow for murder and conspiracy; it is also a veil for lovers’ intimacy. Christ was betrayed in the dark of Gethsemane, abandoned by Peter and the other apostles. It is only fitting that Christ should resurrect the dark, a great light splitting the sorrow of spiritual nightfall.
Mary the Magdalene, one of a few women who had accompanied Christ to the cross, is the first to reach the tomb. Mark’s Gospel tells us that she had come to anoint the body with spices, a last kind gesture to Christ (Mk 16:1). The image of darkness suggests the state of Mary’s mind and heart. Her heart is heavy, carrying great concern, sorrow, and anxiety. Her teacher and saviour, who she loved, has fallen. Her mind is confused, clouded, crest-fallen. Her messiah died in humiliation, hardly the glory to be expected from one so great. One can imagine Mary’s temptation to despair, knowing her history; Jesus had rescued her from seven demons (Lk 8:9). She knew the dark all too well.
The shock, then, of an empty tomb! A light, a beacon of hope in the gloom? No, Mary has seen a sign but dares not believe just yet. She says to the disciples “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb” she said, “and we don’t know where they have put him” (John 20:2). Her darkness perhaps becomes all the murkier. Not only did they kill him, they also stole his body.
Peter, the man who denied Christ three times, is driven to hope, however. He rushes to the tomb, the beloved disciple overtaking him. The beloved of Christ, the sign of ecclesial love, stops at the tomb and waits for the rock of Christ, the sign of ecclesial office and faith. Despite his unworthiness, Peter braves entering the tomb and finds confirmation that no tomb raider has set foot here. No body-thief would leave the linen cloth lying as before. The haste of a bandit would demand the facial napkin to be tossed aside, not neatly folded in its own place. The beloved disciple enters and begins to understand: the light has now heated a spark. In the heart that trusts, the hope of a risen saviour – however dimly – is lit.
Too often in darkness we seek the consolation of our own earthly lights. In his denial, Peter approached a bonfire for warmth, underscoring his own need for comfort and security (Mk 14:67). When he tried to seize security apart from the Lord, he fell. He lost confidence in God’s awesome power because he did not surrender his fear to God’s protection.
The dark morning of the Resurrection invites us to cast-off our anxieties and allow the beloved disciple’s spark of hope to become a flame. Rather than cling to our own bonfires, let us open wide our hearts. The Resurrection makes “all things new” (Rev. 21:5). Consequently, darkness need not end in nihilism and despair; night will always succumb to a new dawn. Whether we are a Peter, a Mary Magdalene, or the Beloved Disciple, let us dare to hope in the morning rays of Christ’s glory. We should not fear the night’s grim hours, for it was then our salvation was forged.
Christ is Risen! Alleluia!
He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!
Nicholas Pierlot is the Assistant Director of Formation at St. Therese Institute of Faith and Mission in Bruno, SK, where Sacred Scripture is one of his favourite topics to instruct on. Nick holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Prince Edward Island and M.A. in Catholic Applied Theology from the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham, England. He lives in Bruno with his wife Denise, their daughter Rosé. They are expecting a new addition to the family this summer.
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