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April 21, 2019
Easter Sunday
Acts of the Apostles 10: 34, 37  - 43
Colossians 3: 1 - 4 
John 20: 1 - 9

The Gospel readings during the Season of Easter are taken from the Gospel according to John. The fourth evangelist had access to different sources than the Synoptic writers, so his presentation of Jesus and His mission are slightly different. While he shares with the other three evangelists that Mary discovered the empty tomb (Easter Sunday), he includes a post-Resurrection encounter with Thomas (Second Sunday of Easter). Also, the Synoptics do not record a reconciliation between Jesus and Peter after Peter's denial, but in John 21 (Third Sunday of Easter) presents us with just a scene. Peter is told to "feed my sheep". Jesus uses the imagery of sheep and shepherd to describe His own care of the disciples (Fourth Sunday of Easter). John's Gospel lacks a sermon on ethics or the Beatitudes. Instead, Jesus gives one commandment: love one another (Fifth Sunday of Easter). Those who heed this command will dwell in God and receive the Advocate, Whom Jesus promised to send (Sixth Sunday of Easter). The final Sunday before Pentecost, we hear Jesus' prayer to His Father in which He prays for those who will come to belief through the preaching of His disciples. We are the ones for whom Jesus prayed.

Did you notice how often witnessing or testifying appear in today's readings? Peter calls the disciples witnesses, commissioned to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God. The prophets are said to witness God's forgiving love. Mary is the first to witness the empty tomb. After she goes to tell Peter and the beloved disciple, they need to see that the tomb was empty. All that remained were the burial cloths. And the cloth covering Jesus' head was separate, which implies an intentional act, not a body snatching. The first preacher of the Resurrection, Mary is named apostle to the apostles and patron of the Order of Preachers.

We are also to witness the Resurrection. We did not see Jesus walk the Earth like Mary, Peter, or the beloved disciple. However, because we experience the effects of the Resurrection, we see hope where others see despair. The forgiveness in Jesus' dying and rising brings light where others see darkness. Death-dealing realities like disease, divorce, addiction, or loss give way to acceptance, healing, survival, and recovery. When we admit that we are powerless, and that our lives are hidden in Christ (Colossians 3: 3), living sincerity and truth lessen the power of malice and wickedness (1 Corinthians 5:8).

"This is the day the Lord has made: let us rejoice and be glad." Review your life since last Easter (2018). Name where you found new life because of your faith in the resurrected Lord. Testify to that truth. Witness the Resurrection so that others may come to see and believe through you.

On behalf of all of us here at St Regis, we extend to you and yours a most Blessed and Happy Easter.   And let us continue to pray for one another.