Easter Sunday: Reflections on the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Rev. Herbert C. Yost, C.S.C.
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.

“Don’t be afraid! Do not fear!” God spoke those words to Abraham, Moses, David, Esther, and the prophets. The prophets in turn spoke them to the people of Israel and Judah. But those words were spaced out over centuries of human life…they were infrequent, sporadic. But in the short space of 33 years, the words came more frequently.

A young woman heard an angel tell her: “Do not be afraid; you have found favor with God.” A group of 12 men sitting in a sinking boat heard their master say, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” Those wondering about their self-worth and daily bread heard: “Do not worry. Your Father knows what you need.”

A father, distressed by his daughter’s illness, was told: “Fear is useless. What is needed is trust.” Over and over again in the Gospels we hear the words, “Don’t be afraid … Fear not”

And finally, two women come to an empty tomb and hear the words: “Do not be frightened. He has been raised.” After this, there is silence. Never again will we hear those words. This is not the silence of abandonment, but the silence of fulfillment. At an empty tomb, humanity discovered that there is no longer any reason to fear anything. Even death that which we fear so much and is at the root of much of our anguish has been conquered. What we hear now is: “Peace be with you.”

1. In the past, my biggest fear was _____________
2. Am I alive yesterday?
3. As I look ahead, my biggest fear is ____________
4. Am I alive tomorrow?
5. What conclusions can you draw from the above questions about being alive?
6. Fear is one way the Evil One can imprison you and utterly strip away your enjoyment of life. I think the Evil One wants me to miss out on ____________
7. Imagine yourself coming to Jesus with your biggest concern. It’s just the two of you, alone in a quiet setting. You tell Him what is weighing down your mind and heart. Given his gentleness and compassion, as well as His sense of humor, what do you think Jesus will say to you? What will He do?

Jesus, You Yourself were afraid in the Garden and on the cross,
so You know what it’s like.
Your most heartfelt desire is that I live my days in peace.
You enfold us with Your loving arms
And promise that nothing will ever destroy my relationship with You,
and Your loving care of me.
When worry and fear overwhelm me,
Help me to remember to run to You for help,
Instead of letting my mind spin out of control.
Share with me the same graces that enabled
You to conquer Your fears.
Above all, help me to live in the present moment,
For here alone I have all I need to defeat the Evil One:
My wisdom, My memory of how You have helped in the past,
Your grace and support, The love and care of other people.
I so want to live this day and all my days in peace.
Help me. Amen.

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