I usually attend Easter Saturday services and, so, am unsure of the readings.

 

Pope John Paul II’s, Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginia Mariae does not mention any of the following readings.  The Rosary mystery is the Resurrection.

 

Celebrate is the word for today.

 

Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P. observes that both Eastern and Western Christianity celebrate with Psalm 118:24,[1] that is the Responsorial, This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.

 

Acts 10:34A, 37-43 (page 345)

 

verse 34a      Peter proceeded to speak and said:

 

This is the verse cited repeatedly by me as indicative of Peter not being very bright.  Bette says that Peter only says, as if it were something new, what everyone else has long since figured out.  A close reading of verse 37a makes a point.

 

verse 37a      “You know…

 

After I finished explaining you know, my students would rather have been caught chewing gum than saying you know in my classes.  Observe that people in power, people like elected officials, chief executive officers, and the like, rarely to never say you know.  Who does say you know are people like athletes trying to explain strategy to a general audience.  Whenever I heard anyone say you know, I always wanted to stop the show to see whether the language itself contained sufficient vocabulary to say what was needed.  Vocabulary originated to enable the king to tell his subjects what to do, not to enable the peons to tell the king anything at all.  The very point is that the people did not know and that Christian vocabulary had not yet been much developed to express what had happened.

 

That Latin syntax, grammar, and vocabulary is esoteric, so esoteric that I am unaware of anyone willing and able to unravel what is there for the less sophisticated.  I wonder whether the breviary, the Divine Office, is pitched about the Fourth grade level, just above the beginning level of literacy, so that everyone may begin there to then proceed to more esoteric levels.

 

verse 40[2]      This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible,

                               not to all the people, but to us

                               the witnesses chosen by God in advance,

                               who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.

 

This verse supports a sort of elite Gnosticism that I do not like and question.  When the clergy take this verse wrongly, thinking people tend to become anti-clerical.  As a matter of fact, however, Jesus is not visible to all the people and it is we who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead, thereby imposing a commission to preach to the people.  Somehow, we begin that preaching to ourselves, with the full intention of reaching out to include the whole cosmos.

 

Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23, Rx (24)

 

This is one of the twelve Psalms using Halleluiah in the Masoretic or Hebrew text.[3]  Psalm 118 is also one of the six Psalms of the Hallel, 113-118.[4]  Psalm 118 is one of the psalms that the Jewish and Christian traditions deeply incorporate into their liturgies.  Being so embedded causes interpretive difficulties.  Do the purpose of the liturgists and the purpose of the Psalmists differ?  So far, I have been having no problems, though the scholars do.  This Psalm also looks to the Exodus as a balm for the trials and errors of this life.

 

verse 1          Alleluia

                     Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,

                               for his mercy endures forever.

                     Let the house of Israel say,

                               “His mercy endures forever.”

 

Stuhlmueller translates mercy as steadfast love.  Saint Jerome[5] uses misericordia.  I like steadfast love.

 

Stuhlmueller points out that verse 16 is a reminder of the Exodus.

 

verse 16        “The right hand of the LORD has struck with power;

                               the right hand of the LORD is exalted.

 

verse 24        This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.

 

Stuhlmueller relates that let us rejoice may also be translated grant salvation.[6]

 

The 118th Psalm is a major psalm of thanksgiving and praise.[7]

 

1 Corinthians 5:6b-8

 

verse 8          Therefore, let us celebrate the feast,

                               not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness,

                               but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

 

Sincerity and truth are not only keys to the religious life, but are also the keys to Western Civilization.  The War on Iraq is about sincerity and truth.  President George W. Bush is saying that Hussein is untruthful; Hussein is saying the same about Bush.  I suggest that the difference is that Bush needs to be reasonably truthful in order to remain in charge, whereas the only truth Hussein needs is terror.

 

Mark 16:1-7

 

verse 5          On entering the tomb they saw a young man

                               sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe,

                               and they were utterly amazed.

 

The Monsignor, my pastor, likes this verse, seeing the young man sitting there, full of himself, having moved the large stone with no trouble at all.  I also like this image.

 

Differing miracle Christology characterize Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  Matthew sees the Christ as the Messiah, the Servant of God, bearing our illnesses and diseases.  Mark sees the Christ as both human and divine, one who must both suffer and die, but who is also the powerful Son of God.  Luke sees the Christ as someone bringing Spirit-wrought benefactions.[8]

 

verse 7          But go and tell his disciples and Peter,

                               `He is going before you to Galilee;

                               there you will see him, as he told you.’”

 

The grammarian observes that “Peter singled out perhaps as chief of the apostles but since his name follows toiV maqhtaiV [the disciples] probably as in special need of assurance after his denial.”[9]

 

A scholar points out that everyone got to see the Resurrected Jesus, Peter, the women, the disciples, all who had abandoned him in his hour of trial, even so, they all got to see him resurrected.  No matter how dramatic the failure, somewhere in Galilee, Jesus, Resurrected, appeared to them all,[10] giving all a reason to celebrate.

 

In conclusion, this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.  We do get to celebrate what John the Baptist prepared the way for.  We do get to celebrate the exodus from this life into a better life.  We do get to celebrate the feast of sincerity and truth.  We celebrate the stone rolled back for us.



[1] Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P., The Spirituality of the Psalms (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2002) ISBN 0-8146-2599, page 202.

 

[2] All indented verses are taken from National Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Roman Missal Restored by Decree of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican and Promulgated by Authority of Pope Paul VI: Lectionary for Mass: For Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America: Second Typical Edition: Volume I: Sundays, Solemnities, Feasts of the Lord and Saints (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1998).

 

[3] Lloyd M. Barré, “Halelu yah: A Broken Inclusion,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 45, No. 2 (April 1983) 195-200.

 

[4] Mark Kiley, “`Lord, Save my Life’ (Psalm 116:4) as Generative Text for Jesus’ Gethsemane Prayer (Mark 14:36a),” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 4 (October 1986) 655.

 

[5] Saint Jerome, the Latin, and the Nova Vulgata all refer to Nova Vulgata: Bibliorum Sacrorum Editio: Sacrosancti Oecumenici Concilii Vaticani II ratione habita Iussu Pauli PP, VI Recognita Auctoritate Joannis Pauli PP, II Promulgata Editio Typica Altera (00120 Citta Del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1979, 1986, 1998) ISBN 88-2209-2163-4

 

[6] Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P., The Spirituality of the Psalms (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 2002) ISBN 0-8146-2599, page 198.

 

[7] Also see Sue Gillingham, “From Liturgy to Prophecy: The Use of Psalmody in Second Temple Judaism,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 3 (July 2002) 471-472.

 

[8] Jack Dean Kingsbury, “Observations on the `Miracle Chapters’ of Mathew 8-9,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 4 (October 1978) 562-565.

 

[9] Max Zerwick, S.J. and Mary Grosvenor, A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament unabridged, 5th, revised edition (Roma: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico 1996) 165.

 

[10] Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B., “Mark 6:6b-30: Mission, the Baptist, and Failure”, the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 4 (October 2001) 663.