Gn 1:1-2:2 or 1:1, 26-31a
Ps 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 13-14, 24, 35
Gn 22:1-18 or 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Ps 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11
Ex 15:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 17-18
Ps 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13
Is 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
Bar 3:9-15, 32C4:48
Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11
Ez 36:16-17a, 18-28
Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Grab a chair, folks! I’m afraid that this reflection in particular will be significantly more lengthy than normal. But I think today of all days is one in which we ought to spend more time in prayer. Today is one of my favorite days in the liturgical calendar. Today is bittersweet: we still mourn the death of our Savior, but we soon start to celebrate his Resurrection. Today is the day in which the Church practically starts anew. Today is beautiful. Today is a day of rebirth for each and every one of us.
As we soon begin to rejoice in the single most joyful event in which our faith is based, let us take a spiritual walk through Scripture so that we may further deepen that faith which is to be shortly renewed.
Reading #1- Genesis 1:1—2:2
This reading is about love; a love that can never fail. It is of love that God has given each and every one of us, for he took his delicate Word and, with it, uniquely and preciously formed Creation. It speaks of a love that we are to express with all of our brothers and sisters for, although unique, we are formed in the same image and likeness of our God. I freely admit that I struggle to see the goodness in some of my peers; there are those times when there is nothing I would prefer more than to make some of them disappear or become mute (or hit them with a frying pan!). That’s original sin, for ya! But as we start our Easter journey, let us set our prejudices aside and rather focus on what we have in common: our own beings. It is who we are. We are each living temples of God and we each have God’s love alive in us. Likewise, this planet we call 'home' is also part of such love. We thus need to treat it with respect and open arms. God is actively alive in us, just as we are actively alive in God.
Psalm- “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.”
We now recognize our shortcomings and ask the Lord for pardon and strength.
I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.
Lord, we know that we have sinned and have distanced ourselves from you. Send us your Spirit so that we might be reborn in you.
Reading #2- Genesis 22:1-18
This reading is about faith. God sometimes speaks to us in the most interesting of ways. Naturally, we desire to pull away from such callings and choose to live our lives as we wish. We must learn that God has plans for us all. We must learn to have faith, even when faith seems distant at most. We must learn to remember that God is always there for us.
Psalm- “You are my inheritance, O Lord.”
‘Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In your company I’ll go
Where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I’ll move and live and grow
In you and you in me.’
Reading #3- Exodus 14:15—15:1
Life has its paths of craziness. Sometimes the road is dark and lonely. Often, we lose our way. But like Moses, God is here to part the struggles before us. Have faith. Keep marching. Turn to God. And let us watch all of our obstacles and worries disappear before our very eyes.
Psalm- “Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.”
Time and time again, we owe our existence to the Lord. He is all-powerful and all-knowing. He is all that we have and all that we need. Let us not give thanks for all the goodness and blessings the Lord has freely given us. Let us return the favor. Let us take some time to just say “Thank you, God." Thank God for each day. Thank God for all the wonderful people in our lives. Thank God for life itself. Thank God, for his love is everlasting.
Reading #4- Isaiah 54: 5—14
In this reading, we are reminded of Christ’s everlasting sacrifice on the cross. Christ not only brings us peace, but grants all generations peace. United we are and united we will remain. We profess our belief in the second coming; we know that Christ will come again to grant everlasting salvation to all Creation: past, present, and future. May we now pray for the souls in purgatory: Lord, grant them salvation, forgive them of their sins, bring them into your Heavenly presence.
Psalm- “I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.”
Jesus loved us so much that he stretched out his arms and gave up his life. We mourn for our loss. But we believe that Christ’s sacrifice—the ultimate sacrifice—is the key to our heavenly reward.
‘We hold the death of the Lord deep in our hearts.
Living, now we remain with Jesus the Christ.’ -David Haas
Reading #5- Isaiah 55:1-11 &
Psalm- “You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.”
This reading and this psalm are about humility. Part of having faith means realizing that we need a little help here-and-there along the way. In our times of struggle, in our times of joy, let us have the courage to ask. We are always thirsty, but we are always invited to come to the water.
Reading #6- Baruch 3:9—15, 32:48
“The One who knows all things knows her; he has probed her by his knowledge. The One who established the earth for all time, and filled it with four-footed beasts; he who dismisses the light, and it departs, calls it, and it obeys him trembling; before whom the stars at their posts shine and rejoice; when he calls them, they answer, “Here we are!” shining with joy for their Maker. Such is our God; no other is to be compared to him: He has traced out the whole way of understanding, and has given her to Jacob, his servant, to Israel, his beloved son.”
Psalm- “Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.”
We live in a world of troubles: greed, violence, failure to love. But with God, our troubles are erased and with faith, they are gone for good. Yes, life will have its moments. But with God, I am as strong as I can be. I may be poor, but I am spiritually and eternally rich.
Reading #7- Ezekiel 16:17a, 18-28
“Deep within, I will plant my law, not on stone, but in your heart.
Follow me; I will bring you back. You will be my own, and I will be your God.” -David Haas
Psalm- “Like the deer that longs for running stream, so longs my soul for you. So longs my soul for you.”
Lord, we have spent the last day mourning and weeping over your death on the cross. But like the deer, we wait with patience. We know that there will soon be rejoicing. We know that because of your cross, you will redeem the world. We desire to be with you. We soon turn our hearts from a time of sadness towards a time of joy. We are waiting for you to come, O Lord. Come, live in the light!
Epistle- Romans 6:3-11
In my opinion, the words of this Epistle are so bountiful and complete, nothing I can say can do it justice. Thus. . .
"Brothers and sisters: Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.
"For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection. We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin. For a dead person has been absolved from sin. If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus."
Psalm - "Alleluia!"
Finally! After 40 days, we get to finally proclaim the one word that brings me new life: "Alleluia! Alleluia!" Praise the Lord for his love is everlasting. Praise the Lord for his mercy endures forever. Praise the Lord for his right hand is exalted. Praise the Lord for in him, we shall not die but live anew. Praise the Lord for he is our rock and foundation. Praise the Lord, for he has risen! Alleluia!
Gospel- Matthew 28:1—10
"After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow. The guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men. Then the angel said to the women in reply, 'Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ Behold, I have told you.' Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, 'Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.'"
He has risen, and we are saved! Thank you, Lord for your love for us. Thank you, Lord for adoring your Creation. Thank you, Lord, for allowing us to live in you. Jesus Christ is risen today; Alleluia, Alleluia!
Have a Blessed Easter, everyone!