03 April 2015

'He saw and believed.' Sunday Reflections, Easter Sunday

From The Gospel of John (2003) directed by Philip Saville

Gospel of the Mass during the Day, John 20:1-9

The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

From the Ordo (Philippines): The entire celebration of this sacred Vigil must take place at night, so that it begins after nightfall and ends before the dawn on the Sunday. (Universal Norms, 21). This rule is to be taken according to its strictest sense. The Easter Vigil is not to be celebrated at the time of day that is customary for anticipated Sunday Masses.

The Easter Vigil is not an 'anticipated Mass'. It stands on its own and is the most important liturgical celebration of the whole year. One may fulfil one's Sunday obligation by attending either the Easter Vigil or the Mass during the Day. One may also receive Holy Communion at both.

The Resurrection of Christ, Rembrandt, c.1639
Alte Pinakothek, Munich [Web Gallery of Art]

At the Mass during the Day

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA) 
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

[Referred to in the poem below as 'Church of the Saviour']

Father Pádraig Ó Croiligh is a priest of the Diocese of Derry in Ireland. He is also a poet. The following poem is from his book Brúitíní Creidimh (Mashed Potatoes of Faith) published by Foilseacháin Ábhair Spioradálta in 2005. I have added my own interlinear translation.

Calvaire (Calvary)

Ag barr na gcéimeanna
At the top of the steps
In Eaglais an tSlánaitheora
In the Church of the Saviour
Tá séipéal tógtha thart ar rian na croise,
There’s a chapel built around the mark of the cross,
An dara stáisiún déag dearaithe are a chúl
The twelfth station drawn at the back
Agus poll sa talamh faoi
And a hole in the ground beneath
San áit a mbíodh an chrois
In the place where the cross was
Ag an am ar tharla an crith talún.
At the time of the earthquake.

Ach níl an tarlú fein ná an duine
But neither the event nor the person
Í láthair anseo anois,
Are present here now,
Ach in áiteanna brúite buartha
But in crushed sorrowful places
Ar fud na cruinne
Throughout the world
Agus i láthair an uaignis.
And in the midst of loneliness.

An fear a fuair bás anseo,
The man who died here
Den bhás a rinneadh anseo,
Of the death wrought here,
Tá sé beo agus aiséirithe.
He is alive and risen.
Tá Íosa ina Chríost go foill!
Jesus is still the Christ!

Christ the Lord is Risen Today
Sung in English and in Ukrainian, arranged by John Rutter

One of the 'crushed sorrowful places' in today's world is Ukraine. But Jesus is still the Christ there!

There are many 'crushed sorrowful places' in the news just now: Kenya, Somalia, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan. The list goes on.

Lebanon is a country that went through a brutal civil war between 1975 and 1990 in which 120,000 were killed, out of a population of not much more than four million. It is affected today by the conflicts in neighbouring countries. Four years ago it gave what is one of the most joyful proclamations of the Resurrection that I have ever come across. One does not need to understand Arabic to know what is being celebrated. Jesus is still the Christ!

We can proclaim the Resurrection of Jesus Christ through any medium. One medium is the cartoon, a medium that was used by early Christians in times of persecution when they used the Ichthys sign, the 'Sign of the Fish', to identify themselves secretly to other believers.

B.C. by Johnny Hart

Johnny Hart was an American syndicated cartoonist who created the B.C. cartoon strip and was co-creator of the Wizard of Id strip. Especially around Holy Week and Easter he sometimes used the B.C. strip to express his Christian faith, as in the example above.

A quotation from the Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

A dying man asked a dying man for eternal life; a man without possessions asked a poor man for a Kingdom; a thief at the door of death asked to die like a thief and steal Paradise. One would have thought a saint would have been the first soul purchased over the counter of Calvary by the red coins of Redemption, but in the Divine plan it was a thief who was the escort of the King of kings into Paradise. If Our Lord had come merely as a teacher, the thief would never have asked for forgiveness. But since the thief's request touched the reason of His coming to earth, namely, to save souls, the thief heard the immediate answer:

'I promise thee, this day thou shalt be
With Me in Paradise'
(Luke 23:43).

It was the thief's last prayer, perhaps even his first. He knocked once, sought once, asked once, dared everything, and found everything. When even the disciples were doubting and only one was present at the Cross, the thief owned and acknowledged Him as Savior
Johnny Hart echoes the words of Archbishop Sheen in the cartoon below published on Easter Sunday 2007, the day after his sudden death on Holy Saturday, 7 April. He often featured anthropomorphic ants in B.C., often at 'Skool', such as here:

[Panel 7: 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.' Panel 8: 'Assuredly I say to you today you will be with me in paradise.' Panel 9: 'It is finished.' 'Truly this man was the Son of God.']

Entrance Antiphon  Antiphona ad introitum (Longer form)
At the Mass during the Day

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