16 Apr – Easter Sunday
This mass is our Alleluia; our song of praise to the risen Christ who is our life and whose triumph over death we proclaim to all the world.
– Sunday Missal
Peter addressed Cornelius and his household: ‘The truth I have now come to realise’ he said ‘is that God does not have favourites, You must have heard about the recent happenings in Judaea; about Jesus of Nazareth and how he began in Galilee, after John had been preaching baptism. God had anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and because God was with him, Jesus went about doing good and curing all who had fallen into the power of the devil. Now I, and those with me, can witness to everything he did throughout the countryside of Judaea and in Jerusalem itself: and also to the fact that they killed him by hanging him on a tree, yet three days afterwards God raised him to life and allowed him to be seen, not by the whole people but only by certain witnesses God had chosen beforehand. Now we are those witnesses – we have eaten and drunk with him after his resurrection from the dead – and he has ordered us to proclaim this to his people and to tell them that God has appointed him to judge everyone, alive or dead. It is to him that all the prophets bear this witness: that all who believe in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name.’
Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed – and he is your life – you too will be revealed in all your glory with him.
It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’
So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed. Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
I recently had the privilege of serving at CER#56, after not having served for an entire year. And what a reawakening it was for me – not just from the ministering point of view, but also from the messages I kept getting from God each day of the retreat. In one of the paraliturgies, I was called to help with the praying over session, which gave me a whole new perspective on the healing graces that Jesus poured out onto each and every retreatant.
At Sunday’s thanksgiving mass to mark the close of the retreat, I teared up many times during the testimonies. One, in particular, struck deep within me and reaffirmed God’s real presence in our lives. A couple went up and shared about how they had just lost their newborn as well as the husband’s father. Naturally, they had come to the retreat feeling angry and at a loss for why God would take away their two family members.
However, as they were prayed over, God revealed a vision to each of them and reassured them that their family members were in fact celebrating with Him and feeling a lot of joy and peace; much more than they had ever felt here on earth. And that gave the young couple closure while reassuring them that their loved ones were indeed safe in the arms of our loving God.
The Lenten CER is always a special one for us because it is truly one which awakens the fire and new-found belief in the hearts of the retreatants. During the testimonies, it was evident that God had indeed been ovely generous with His graces, showering every retreatant with His awesome love and mercy. It was a joy to see everyone unburdened and free from the shackles of sin at the last day, rejoicing among themselves and, especially the couples who embraced each other tightly, holding on to each other, some sobbing openly, while others just spoke with each other like newlyweds again.
For me, the messages He sent me each day reminded me of His constant presence and how He always gives us strength to carry on, especially in our moments of weakness. More importantly, He reminded me of how we should all pray fervently and joyfully, lifting up holy hands, without anger nor argument. Indeed, this Lenten period has been a rather ‘dry’ one for me and save for the CER, I hardly made any sort of sacrifices. However, the Lord, in all His goodness and mercy, chose to redeem me by reawakening a fervour and rekindling a fire in my heart that continues to burn bright. He is risen indeed!
Brothers and sisters, Christ has come not just to save us from our sins, but to also show us how much He loves and cares for us. His resurrection is the reason we believe that we are indeed saved and that the kingdom of heaven is ours to inherit, together with our brother, Jesus. Let us walk proudly with Him at our side and claim our inheritance as sons and daughters of God.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Lord, we pray that you continue to shine the light of Christ into our hearts.
Thanksgiving: Sing Alleluia, the Lord is risen. He is risen indeed Alleluia.