Gospel Reflection – Sunday, March 31, 2024 – John 20:1-9 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Acts 10,34a.37-43)

Reading from the Acts of the Apostles:

In those days, Peter spoke and said: “You know what happened in all of Judea, beginning in Galilee, after the baptism preached by John: how Jesus of Nazareth was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went everywhere, doing good and healing all who were dominated by the devil; because God was with him.

And we are witnesses of everything that Jesus did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by nailing him to a cross.

But God raised him up on the third day, granting him to manifest himself not to all the people, but to the witnesses that God had chosen: to us, who ate and drank with Jesus after he rose from the dead.

And Jesus commanded us to preach to the people and testify that God made him Judge of the living and the dead.

All the prophets bear witness to him: “Everyone who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins in his name.”

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Second Reading (Col 3,1-4)

Reading of the Letter of Saint Paul to the Colossians:

Brothers: If you have been resurrected with Christ, strive to reach the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; aspire to heavenly things and not to earthly things. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

When Christ, your life, appears in his triumph, then you will also appear with him, clothed in glory.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Announcement of the Gospel (John 20:1-9)

— PROCLAMATION of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John.

— Glory to you, Lord.

On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went to Jesus’ tomb, very early in the morning, when it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.

So she ran out and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said to them, “They took the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”

Then Peter and the other disciple left and went to the tomb. The two ran together, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and reached the tomb first. Looking inside, he saw the strips of linen on the floor, but he did not enter.

Simon Peter, who was running behind, also arrived and entered the tomb. He saw the linen strips lying on the ground and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not laid with the strips, but rolled up in a separate place.

Then the other disciple, who had arrived at the tomb first, also entered. He saw it, and he believed it.

In fact, they had not yet understood the Scripture that he must rise from the dead.

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

My brothers and sisters, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Today, gathered as a community of faith, we are called to reflect on the biblical passages presented to us: the first reading of the Acts of the Apostles, the second reading of Saint Paul’s Letter to the Colossians and the proclamation of the Gospel according to John. These words sacred beliefs have the power to transform us and guide us on our spiritual journey.

But before we delve into the depths of these scriptures, I want to extend an invitation to all of you. Look around you, at the people who are next to you right now. Notice their faces, their smiles, and perhaps their worries. Each of us carries a unique story, full of joys and challenges, hopes and struggles. And it is in this context that divine truths become tangible and applicable in our daily lives.

In the world we live in, we often find ourselves overwhelmed by everyday worries and distractions. We struggle to find meaning amid the rush and pressure. But today, dear believers, we are called to lift our hearts and minds beyond the earthly and fix them on things above, as Saint Paul reminds us in his letter to the Colossians.

He exhorts us to seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. This is a powerful reminder that our life here on earth is just one part of a larger, deeper reality. We are invited to direct our attention to the kingdom of God, to set our hopes and aspirations on eternal things.

But how can we do this in a world full of worries and distractions? Here, reading the Acts of the Apostles offers us an inspiring answer. The excerpt we heard talks about Peter’s testimony about Jesus, how He was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil.

These words invite us to reflect on the life and ministry of Jesus, who dedicated his existence to serving others and bringing healing and liberation. He showed us the path of compassion, love and mercy. And we, as followers of Christ, are called to follow in his footsteps and do the same.

Remember, my brothers and sisters, that the Gospel of John tells us the story of Jesus’ resurrection. Mary Magdalene and the disciples found the tomb empty and realized that something extraordinary had happened. The Gospel reminds us that Jesus had predicted his death and resurrection, but now everything came true before them.

The resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone of our faith. She reminds us that life conquers death, that hope triumphs over despair. This is the good news we must proclaim to the world.

Just like Mary Magdalene and the disciples, we too are called to witness the power of the resurrection in our lives. We are invited to let this transformative truth sink into our hearts and empower us to live according to the teachings of Jesus.

Dear believers, today is a day of joy and renewal. We are reminded that our lives are not limited by earthly concerns but are enriched by God’s grace and the promise of eternal life. We are challenged to look beyond our worries and find meaning and purpose in our calling as disciples of Christ.

So how can we apply these spiritual truths to our daily lives? I want to encourage you to reflect on your own experiences and challenges. Think about the situations in which you feel oppressed by the devil, the areas of your lives where you need healing and deliverance.

Think about the people around you who need a touch of compassion, love and mercy. Maybe it’s a co-worker who is struggling, a lonely neighbor who needs a word of encouragement, or a friend who is battling an illness.

Now, I’ll share a story that illustrates these principles in action. There was a woman named Ana who spent most of her life feeling weighed down by a sense of inadequacy. She believed that she would never be good enough, that her flaws and weaknesses defined her.

One day, Ana found a faith community where she heard the message of God’s love and grace. She heard about Jesus, who welcomed sinners and transformed them into instruments of his peace. These words resonated in her heart and she decided to give herself to Christ.

As Ana experienced healing and liberation in her own life, she felt a deep calling to share this message of hope with others. She began to get involved in community service projects, visiting the sick, supporting those in need, and sharing words of encouragement with those who felt lost.

Ana discovered that by reaching out to others, she too was healed and transformed. She witnessed the joy and gratitude in the eyes of those who received her love and care. She realized that her own story of overcoming and redemption could be a source of inspiration and hope for others.

Dear believers, Ana’s story reminds us that we can all be instruments of God’s love in the world. We are called to follow Jesus’ example, to seek things above and to share the message of the resurrection with those around us.

So what does this mean in practice? It means that we must look for opportunities to serve others, even in small, everyday gestures. It means we must offer words of encouragement and support to those who are struggling. It means we must forgive those who have hurt us and extend the hand of reconciliation.

My beloved community, as we close this homily, I want to invite you to reflect on the truths that have been shared today. Allow these sacred words to penetrate your hearts and transform them. Think about how you can be instruments of God’s love in the world, how you can share the message of the resurrection with those around you.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, enabling you to live according to the teachings of the Scriptures. May you be full of hope and courage to face the challenges of daily life. And may you be blessed with the joy of being instruments of God’s love in the world.

So be it. Amen.