April 14, 2020
First Reading: Acts 2:36-41
Responsorial: Psalm 33:4-5,18-19,20 & 22
Second Reading: John 20:11-18
The Lord appears to Mary Magdalene, consoles her, and sends her off with the news, “I have seen the Lord!” The insistence upon the witness of women in the Scriptures reveals to us just how much both men and women were called to be Christ’s disciples. Mary Magdalene proclaims the Good News to Jesus’ other followers, the men with whom he had entrusted his apostolic authority and power. Notice his words to her. She is so thrilled to see him that he must immediately tell her not to cling to him. He exclaims that he is “ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God!” This is one of the clearest statements by Christ that his particular Easter event will also be ours. The words also echo the time when he taught his friends to call God, “Our Father,” in the Lord’s Prayer. We, who belong to Christ, belong also to the one who sent and raised him up. We who are now identified with Christ can appropriately call God our adopted Father. He keeps us in existence and in baptism refashions us into the likeness of his Son.
Likewise, the disciples in Acts take this message and make it the cornerstone of their ministry. We have put Christ to death by our sins; however, we can repent and be baptized into Christ Jesus. Peter said, “It was to you and your children that the promise was made, and to all those still far off whom the Lord our God calls.” I would love to etch those words near the main doors of the church. The message of Christ was not simply for the Jewish people, nor was it for the Gentiles alone who lived two-thousand years ago. His has been a message for every age. We are many miles and many years separated from the period when Jesus walked the earth; however, no matter how far off we have been from him, his message is just as important and alive today as it was yesterday. We are still called to repent and believe. No political order, no philosophy, no educational program, no, none of these have been able to make man one iota better than he was in ancient Palestine. “Save yourselves from this generation which has gone astray.” Yesterday and today our hope remains in Christ and in his forgiveness. Just as our sins in this age contributed to his crucifixion; so too does his grace and forgiveness contribute to our redemption.
Lord, we beseech you to guide medical researchers to find a cure and treatments for the coronavirus. Give strength and compassion to those who are placing their own lives on the line to care for the sick and to save lives. Give acceptance and grace to your ministers and faithful that we will witness to you during this crisis. Console the grieving and give a share in eternal life to those called from this world. Amen.