April 05, 2015
1st Reading: Acts 10:34, 37-43
2nd Reading: Colossians 3:1-4
Gospel: John 20:1-9
On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead.
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
When we look at the lifeless body of Jesus being taken down from the cross, we see in that lifeless body the triumph of faithfulness, truth and love. Faithfulness because his death was the necessary consequence of his total submission to the Father’s Will (Matt. 26:39); truthfulness because without pretentions he was able to live both his humanity and his divinity (Phil. 2:6ff.); and love because he did not just fulfill the Father’s will out of compliance but out of love for the Father and for humanity (John15:13). Because Jesus died in faithfulness, truthfulness and love, we see death as a triumph.
Triumphant death? Don’t we have an oxymoron here? The incongruity of these two terms was most pronounced in Jesus’ time when death was frowned upon as the worst form of defeat. Jesus’ insistence that “unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it won’t bear fruit” fell on deaf ears. Not even Peter, the greatest of all the Apostles, understood it. In fact, Peter tried to dissuade Jesus from undergoing the Passion (Matt. 16:23). But Jesus held on to this teaching and proceeded to Calvary to validate it by dying and coming out alive. Triumphant death may sound like an oxymoron but Jesus’ case is a loud proclamation of the defeat of death (1 Cor. 15:54). With Saint Paul we exclaim: “O death where is your sting; O death where is your victory?” (1 Cor. 15:55). Like Jesus we can now go through death and come out of it alive.
What then, we may ask, is hell for if everyone can now pass through death and come out alive into eternal life? Hell is necessary for the furtherance of our freedom. It is an option for those who prefer not to be faithful to God’s will, not to be truthful to their identity as redeemed, and not to love others. On the other hand, those who are faithful to the will of God, truthful to their identity as redeemed and loving of their fellowmen will live forever. Faithfulness persists, truth prevails and love lives forever. Happy Easter to one and all! – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father, as we rejoice in the resurrection, make us grateful for the gift of salvation by remaining faithful, truthful and loving. Grant this through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
St. Vincent Ferrer, the greatest Dominican Preacher was born at Valencia, Spain in 1350. He joined the Dominican Order in 1374. His lectures and sermons were met with extraordinary success everywhere. He spoke with such energy that most of his listeners confessed their sins and repented from their sinful life. He died at Vannes, France in 1419 while delivering his last sermon.