Easter Sunday  

PREPARING FOR THE WORD
Before you begin take a moment to pray, saying this short prayer by St. John Chrysostom or a prayer in your own words asking the Lord to open up your heart and mind to his Word.       
        O Lord Jesus Christ, open the eyes of my heart, that I may hear Your word and understand and do Your will.


READING THE WORD 
Lectio or reading is the first step of lectio divina. You are invited to begin by slowly and attentively reading aloud the gospel of the day by yourself or others.

Gospel                                                               Matthew 28:1-10 Lectionary: 42 

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning,
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
And behold, there was a great earthquake;
for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven,
approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.
His appearance was like lightning
and his clothing was white as snow.
The guards were shaken with fear of him
and became like dead men.
Then the angel said to the women in reply,
"Do not be afraid!
I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.
He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.
Come and see the place where he lay.
Then go quickly and tell his disciples,
'He has been raised from the dead,
and he is going before you to Galilee;
there you will see him.'
Behold, I have told you."
Then they went away quickly from the tomb,
fearful yet overjoyed,
and ran to announce this to his disciples.
And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.
Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee,
and there they will see me."

For all of the readings for Easter Sunday go to: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041617.cfmâ��


REFLECTING ON THE WORD

Jesus Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

Jesus Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

Below is a list of 10 common Phobia’s. Phobia comes from the Greek work Phobos which means “fear”.

1. Arachnophobia – the fear of spiders. There is no escape from these eight-legged beasts. They live in our houses, gardens, and even our places of work. True arachnophobes are even scared of pictures of spiders.

2. Social phobia – the fear of social situations. More than simple shyness. This is an extreme fear of being scrutinized by others, or humiliated by one’s own actions. This is usually where the fear of public speaking falls.

3. Aerophobia – the fear of flying. In a plane, obviously. Often paired with claustrophobia.

4. Agoraphobia – the fear of inescapable situations. The result is anxiety and panic attacks, which can easily become self-perpetuating. Extreme agoraphobes are confined to their own home, which is the only place they consider to be safe.

5. Claustrophobia – the fear of confined spaces. Sufferers will stay well away from elevators, trains and tiny cupboards under the stairs. May cause panic attacks if escape is not possible.

6. Acrophobia – the fear of heights. Sufferers may have panic attacks and put themselves in genuine danger if they can’t get down.

7. Emetophobia – the fear of vomit. No one likes the sight or smell of vomit, but these sufferers will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid the stuff.

8. Carcinophobia – the fear of cancer. Although it’s not contagious, a carcinophobe will believe he has cancer because he touched someone else with the disease.

9. Brontophobia – the fear of thunderstorms. Also known as astraphobia. Child and adult sufferers alike hide away from thunder and lightning, lest they suffer panic attacks and have difficulty breathing.

10. Necrophobia – the fear of death. Derived from the fear of being buried alive.

There’s also a new phobia on the rise, according to British researchers:

Nomophobia is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. The term, an abbreviation for “nomobile-phone phobia“, was coined during a study to look at anxieties suffered by mobile phone users.

You may not see your top fear or fears listed, but fear is a common emotion that all of us experience at times in our lives. On the first Easter morning, fear certainly captured the hearts of the women who went to the tomb early in the morning.

God understands our fears, our phobias! According to Matthew, the angel and the Risen Jesus greet the women with the words, “Do not be afraid.” have no phobia. Put away fear. On the first Easter morning, there was a new fear, “Tombphobia”, fear of the empty tomb. The angel and the Risen Jesus offer their words and presence so that we might move from fear to rejoicing – from tombphobia to Resurrection Encounter and joy.

The angels greeting is followed with transparency. The angle knew they were “Seeking Jesus” and thus, they were invited to “come and see the place where he lay.”  In these words, from the angel, we get a glimpse of God’s understanding of our own spiritual seeking. God is transparent. God has nothing to hide. God not only understands us, God also invites all of us not to fear, but to investigate the truth of the empty tomb!  

The glory, wonder, and awe of the empty tomb gives testimony to the resurrection and calls us to go and share the truth of Jesus resurrection with others. As fear subsides mission follows.  The angel says to the women, “go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.”

Dr. F. Dale Bruner states in his commentary, “The full resurrection message is of a past event (“Jesus has been raised”), of a present event (“Jesus is going an ahead of you”), and of a future event (“and you will see him there.”).”

The resurrection message not only reveals that Jesus overcomes the power of death, but just as important is that the Resurrected One, lives now to encounter you and me!  He goes ahead of us and there we will see him! God’s desire is that we encounter the Risen Jesus.

The truth of the resurrection is meant to be shared because Jesus, the Resurrected One, is alive! While the resurrection of Jesus happened in the past, His resurrected presence is a present reality! Jesus goes ahead of us so that He might be encountered by us! We can move from fear to rejoicing because encountering the Risen Jesus is life altering. The Living, Resurrected Jesus prepares a way for us to encounter Him in our Galilees, in the daily grind and routines of our lives.

As the women, “fearful yet overjoyed”, go on a mission to tell the disciples that Jesus had risen, Jesus meets them! The women encounter the Risen Jesus on the way! As we seek to share the truth of the resurrection in our own combinations of fear and joy, we will encounter Jesus. God’s very desire is for us to encounter His Risen Son! Jesus rose from the dead not only to forgive us of our sins, but even more to have a personal encounter with us!  The Risen One lives to calm our fears and lead us to the joy of His redeeming presence and eternal love.  Our encounters with Jesus are meant to facilitate and foster a life giving, dynamic, and eternal relationship with Jesus.

Jesus encounter with the women affirms the message of the angel. Jesus says, “Do not be afraid,” Have no tombphobia, instead be on a mission. “Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee and there they will see me.” The women are the first missionaries, the first evangelist of the resurrection and their message is that Jesus is alive and is going ahead of us to Galilee, there we will see him. Notice also that their mission is first to the disciples. They are called to share the Good news with people who would have hearts open to receive.  Sometimes fear hinders us from sharing out faith with others. I want to encourage you to share your faith with another Catholic/Christian. Share with someone who should be open to the faith the difference the resurrected Jesus has made and is making in your life.

May the joy of the resurrection fill us with the knowledge that Jesus is preparing and will meet us on the way and in the Galilees of our own lives.  May our encounters with the Risen Christ not only deliver us from fear, but transform every facet of our lives – transform every relationship, every decision, every fear so that our wills will be united with God’s will – that more and more people will believe and come to encounter Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord!


PONDERING THE WORD

Imeditatio, traditionally, the second stage of lectio divina, we are invited to ponder, as Mary did, “all these things in her heart” as we listen for Jesus, the Incarnate Word to speak to us heart-to-heart. You may find the following questions helpful in doing this.  

1. How have you encountered the Living Risen Jesus?

2. What difference does Easter and the Risen Jesus make in your life?

3. The Good News of the resurrection is meant to be shared. Think about sharing your faith in the resurrection with a friend, (a Catholic friend or family member). The women first shared the news with the disciples – a friendly audience.

4. What fears hinders you from sharing the Good News of Jesus resurrection?


PRAYING THE WORD

In oratio, the third stage of the practice of lectio divina, pondering the Word of God naturally leads to prayer.  Having opened your heart to his Word, take a few moments to speak to Jesus heart-to-heart.


CLOSING PRAYER You may wish to conclude your time of prayer using the Collect from this Sunday’s Mass below or the Lord’s Prayer: 

O God, who on this day, through your Only Begotten Son, have conquered death and unlocked for us the path to eternity, grant, we pray, that we who keep the solemnity of the Lord's Resurrection may, through the renewal brought by your Spirit, rise up in the light of life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.