07 April 2012

'Resurrexit sicut dixit, Alleluia - He is risen as he said, Alleluia!' Sunday Reflections, Easter Sunday

From TheGospel of John (2003)  Directed by Philip Saville. Jesus played by Henry Ian Cusick; narrator, Christopher Plummer.

Readings for Mass on Sunday (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Gospel John 20:1-9 (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. 'They have taken the Lord out of the tomb' she said 'and we don't know where they have put him.' 

So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed. Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

An Soiscéal Eoin 20:1-9 (Gaeilge, Irish)

An chéad lá den tseachtain tháinig Máire Mhaigdiléana go moch, agus an dorchadas fós ann, chun an tuama agus chonaic sí an líog aistrithe ón tuama. Rith sí ansin agus tháinig sí go dtí Síomón Peadar agus go dtí an deisceabal úd eile ab ionúin le Íosa. “Thog siad an Tiarna as an tuama,” ar sí leo, “agus níl a fhios againn cár chuir siad é.”

Amach le Peadar agus leis an deisceabal eile ansin agus chuaigh siad chun an tuama. Chrom siad a mbeirt ar rith in éineacht agus rith an deisceabal eile níos luaithe ná Peadar agus is é is túisce a tháinig go dtí an tuama. Nuair a chrom sé síos chonaic sé na línéadaí ina luí ansiúd, ach ní dheachaigh sé isteach. Ansin tháinig Síomón Peadar ina dhiaidh agus chuaigh sé isteach sa tuama, agus chonaic sé na línéadaí agus an brat a bhí ar a cheann – ní i dteannta na línéadaí a bhí sé, ach fillte in aon áit amháin leis féin. Ansin. an deisceabal eile, a tháinig ar dtús chun an tuama, chuaigh sé isteach agus chonaic agus chreid sé. Óir níor thuig siad go fóill an scrioptúr nárbh fholáir é a aiséirí ó mhairbh.

 The Resurrection of Christ, Rembrandt, painted c. 1639

I remember as a very young priest in 1968 preaching with conviction on one specific occasion about the Resurrection. I think it was during the Easter season. The Mass was in the public chapel, now no more, of the convent of the Irish Sisters of Charity, Stanhope Street, Dublin, which was in our parish. It was the chapel where I had  made my First Holy Communion on 20 May 1950 after having made my first confession there a few days before that.

Among the congregation that Sunday morning in 1968 was my mother. Little did I know that it would be her sudden death two years later, at the age of 55, that would bring my faith in the Resurrection from my head to my heart. Within an hour of receiving the news in New York, where I was studying - I was having breakfast when called to the phone - I knew in the depths of my being that the Resurrection was real. That didn't lessen the sorrow I felt but it gave it meaning.

After the funeral Mass in our parish church of the Holy Family, Aughrim Street, where again I preached, now with a conviction rooted in my heart and not just in my head, in the presence of my mother, her presence very different from that at the Mass two years earlier, I learned from my father the reality of the Resurrection in another way. He told me that he felt utterly desolate before the Mass. But after it he felt that all was right.

Resurrexit sicut dixit, Alleluia! He is risen as he said, Alleluia!

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