The post Vatican II liturgy has changed from a contemplative
“He is risen as he said” to meditation that such a thing could happen. Both are valid ways to find God. The one is more direct, the other more
reliant on reasoning. Saint Gregory
Nazianzenus, bishop and doctor (329-390), may explain the liturgists where he writes,
“ … as I understand contemplation, safe only for those to attempt who have
arrived at a more perfect manner of life, not good for the more simple souls,
not for those yet strong in earthly appetites … ”
Most Reverend Arthur J. Serratelli, S.T.D., S.S.L, D.D.: no Liturgy
comments for these readings, except to see above.
Acts 10:34a, 37-43
This first reading is available for Funerals, Part III. Texts of Sacred Scripture: 13 Funerals for
Adults: New Testament Readings, pages 212-213. This reading uses verses 34-43. Verses 34-36, largely omitted in the Easter
readings, portray Peter as the pioneer
missionary to the Gentiles. Funerals are a good time to find the
resurrected Jesus in the lives of the Faithful, almost if not all of whom in
the parish are Gentiles.
Luke, who wrote
Acts, emphasizes how God acts through Jesus.
Verse 38, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth.” As a result, the Faithful can meditate that Jesus rose from the dead. The wonder is different for the Faithful who
begin contemplating Jesus as God in
the first place. For them, “He has risen
as he said.”
Luke pits Jesus against the devil,
“healing all those oppressed by the devil.”
Modern psychoanalysis offers a secular healing side to this devil. Modern psychoanalysis demonstrates how the
human mind shields itself from painful memories, memories that then, demon-like
surface unaware in behavior. Whatever Peter may have been hiding from himself in his
impetuosity is dissolved in his later tears as he meditates on the fact that he
betrayed his Christ. Such is the healing
power of the Mass.
The greatest degree of agreement between John and the Synoptics is with Luke. The Lectionary does a service in
bringing these texts together for the Faithful.
Luke portrays Jesus as the
source of divine benefactions on those who are afflicted or in need. The need is recognizing Christ as the Messiah. Contemplating Christ
as the Messiah is one aspect of Easter. Another
aspect of Easter is meditating on the wonderment of what happened. Both meditation and contemplation include
recognizing Christ as the Messiah.
This wonderment includes an exodus from this life to the
next. The notion of crossing over is contained
in the word Galilee
where Jesus began his public life, as
mentioned by Peter in verse 37. Gregory (the Great?) writes, “For Galilee is
interpreted as meaning, passing-over
(transmigration). Exodus is inherent in the public life of Jesus
as brought out in this reading from the Acts of the Apostles.
Verse 40 is part of the way the Apostles preached salvation
through Jesus Christ. Verse 40 is not a
particularly theological statement about salvation as effected by Christ. Verse 41 goes on to describe those to whom
the risen Christ was visible. “Witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate
and drank with him after he rose from the dead,” something the Faithful do at Mass.
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
(24 or alleluia)
The Lectionary uses this Psalm as follows.
Readings Page in
Lectionary Verses used
41ABC 341 1-2,
16-17, 22-23 (alleluia) Easter
42ABC 346 1-2, 16-17, 22-23 (24 or alleluia) today
2-4, 13-15, 22-24 (1 or alleluia) Easter 2
44B 356-357 2-4, 13-15, 22-24 (1
or alleluia) Easter 2
45C 362-363 2-4, 13-15, 22-24 (1
or alleluia) Easter 2
50B 394-395 1, 8-9, 21-23,
26, 28, 29 (22) Easter 4
Psalm 118 is a Pascal psalm, sung at the Pascal meal. Alleluia
was in an original version of Psalm 118. The Lectionary places Psalm 118 here,
even though John did not consider the Last Supper a Pascal meal. John writes that the Last Supper was before
the Passover in verse 13:1. That
notwithstanding, John uses Passover
vocabulary to describe what happened. Jesus
passed over from this world to the
Father. Psalm 118 is about the Exodus,
though this time not from the slavery of Egypt land to the freedom of the Promised Land but from
the slavery of sin to the freedom of Everlasting Life. Easter is about the joy of arrival in the
Promised Land of grace.
The stone which the
builders rejected has become the cornerstone, verse 22, calls for a new
foundation and, possibly, a new temple. Because
the religious establishment knew Psalm 118 well, when Jesus
told the parable of the Wicked Vineyard Tenants, the religious establishment
got the point. The Faithful also get the point of the need
for repentance and change of life from sin to grace.
The Faithful when they discover they are not as good as they
want to be, can find themselves in a situation similar to the religious
establishment. The need is to prevent
the mind from shielding itself from painful truths, thereby giving those truths
the opportunity to work their wrath subconsciously and unconsciously. In a more positive sense, the need is to face
up to and endure unpleasant truths in order to love with a clean heart.
insists that Jesus is not the only one
to rise from the dead, but the Faithful are to rise as well. In thinking past the demons of life, Paul urges concentrating on eternal rather than
earthly Life. Verse 3, “your life is
hidden with Christ in God,” may mean hidden from the
devil and even from oneself. In other
words, Paul admonishes not worrying
about unintentional sinfulness, but concentrating as best one can on doing the
right thing. The new promise is to rise
again with the glory of Christ.
1 Corinthians 5:7b-8a
1 Corinthians reflects on Christ
as the Pascal Lamb. The idea of my sins
killing the Christ bespeaks a love from God to me
beyond imagination. The love of God is
not quite unconditional. The condition
is Faith and faithfulness as best one can do.
Paul wants the Faithful to rejoice in the Lord, rather than in human
The synoptic parallels with John
20:1-13: Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; and Luke
Mary of Magdala portrays a primacy of Faith. Mary of Magdala of the Lectionary is
the same as Mary
Magdalene, more commonly known. The Evangelist only portrays Mary of Magdala
not finding the body. I like to think
that she realized that Christ had risen from the
dead, but that Peter and John would not react to that reality, but to the
reality that the body was now missing. Consequently,
the Evangelist simply records that Mary of Magdala said the body was missing.
The Evangelist is careful about human precedence, showing
how Peter went into the tomb first. Precedence belongs to Mary of Magdala, who
certainly went into the tomb to make sure the body was missing. Peter probably asked her if she was certain
she was not hallucinating. The
Evangelist never says that Mary of Magdala did not understand what had
happened, only that Peter and John had not yet figured it out.
Mary of Magdala is linked with Joanna
the apostle in Luke 8:1-3. In verse 2, Mary of Magdala reports, “we don’t know where they put him,”
meaning more than Mary made the original discovery. Perhaps Peter and John needed Mary of Magdala
to point out the exact tomb in which Jesus was laid. Richard Bauckham writes, “… Mary Magdalene …
John 20:1, was the one woman disciple of Jesus who was universally known in the
early church and most tenaciously remembered in the traditions as a witness of
the empty tomb.”
Figuring out the meaning of Jesus Christ
entering history is important for John
who structures his Gospel according to signs found in the Book of Wisdom. The Resurrection is the final sign for John, corresponding to the resurrection out of
slavery depicted in the Exodus.
Easter is about the Exodus from earthly to heavenly life. Saint Bede writes,
“This rolling back of the stone mystically suggests the unlocking of the
Mysteries of Christ, which were concealed by the covering of the Law: for the
Law was written on stone.”
The motion through these readings is through reason and meditation. The first reading from the Acts of the
Apostles is a speech by Saint
Peter proclaiming what has
happened. The Psalm is an exclamation of
joy at what has happened. Colossians
explains that what has happened enables the Faithful to live the very life of
God. The Gospel is about Mary Magdalene
immediately understanding what she contemplates in the empty tomb, something Peter and John
have to spend some time figuring out. The
Lectionary invites the Faithful to relax with Mary Magdalene to enjoy
their life in Christ.
For more on sources, besides the footnotes, see the Appendix