EASTER SUNDAY – The resurrection: heart of the Good News

INTRODUCTION AND common

It is impossible to describe the greatness and joy of this day for Christians. This is the day Christ our Brother broke the chains of death and rose in triumph from the grave.

He did this, not just for himself, but for us too. He wants us to share in his great victory over evil and death. This is the heart of the GoOd News. Let us pause to reflect on it. [Pause]

Our sharing in the resurrection begins now.

Lord Jesus, through the power of your resurrection you help us to rise from our sins. Lord, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, through the power of your resurrection you free us from the grip of fear and despair. Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, through the power of your resurrection you help us to live in joy and freedom as children of the Father. Lord, have mercy.

HEADINGS FOR READINGS

First Reading (Acts 10:34.37-43). This is part of an early sermon preached by St Peter. He tells how he was a witness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The risen Jesus is the Saviour of all those who believe in him, as well as the Judge of the living and the dead.

Second Reading (Colossians 3:1-4). Through our Baptism we already share in the risen life of Christ, though in a hidden and mysterious way.

Gospel (John 20: 1-9). Early on Easter morning some of the disciples discovered that Jesus’ tomb was empty. Then the truth of what the Scriptures had foretold began to dawn on them – that Jesus must rise from the dead.

RENEWAL OF BAPTISMAL PROMISES

(Today, instead of a homily, I am providing an extended form of the renewal of baptismal promises. A good liturgy centered on this would speak loud and clear on this the greatest day in the Church’s calendar).

Priest: On this day we celebrate the great victory of Christ over death. Christ, now risen, will never die again. He has broken the chains of death, and gives us the power to do the same so that we can live in joy and freedom as children of God should live.

Which of us would not wish to share in so great a victory? We can do so if we are prepared to follow the way of Christ. This, after all, is what we promised at Baptism.

So it is fitting that on this great day we should joyfully renew our baptismal promises, and commit ourselves once more to follow Christ, our risen Lord. At the same time we renew our belief in the great truths of the Christian faith. Response: We do.

There is only one true God, the God revealed to us by Christ as a kind and loving Father who cares about each of us. Do you believe in the Father and in his love for you?

The modern world puts up many idols before us: comforts, possessions, pleasures [Pause] Do you reject these false gods?

Christ, God’s Son, came into the world born of the Virgin Mary. He died so that we might die to sin. He rose so that we might rise to newness of life. Do you believe in him?

Do you believe that he lives on among us as our Companion and Friend on the road of life?

Satan is the spirit of darkness. His works are seen in deeds of injustice and violence, in attitudes of greed and selfishness, in motives of pride and lust. Do you reject him and his works?

He tempts us with false and empty promises: that material things can fully satisfy us; that happiness consists in easy and comfortable living; that all that matters in life is to be popular and successful. Do you reject these empty promises and false goals?

The true spirit is the Holy Spirit: he is the Spirit of love and forgiveness; the Spirit of joy and goodness; the Spirit of gentleness and peace. Do you believe in him?

Do you believe that he lives within you, consoling, guiding, and strengthening you?

Each person has a tremendous dignity as a human being and child of God. Do you believe in your own dignity and in the dignity of others?

All human life is sacred. Do you believe in the sacredness of human life from the first moment to the last?

The human race, despite its many differences of race, politics, creed, and colour, is one family under God. Do you believe in the unity of the human family?

Do you believe in the Church in which we become brothers and sisters in Christ, and through which the Gospel is preached to the world?

Do you believe that as followers of Christ and members of his Church, we are called to be channels of his love to the world?

Do you believe that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is also your Mother, and the Mother of the Christian community?

Do you believe in the everlasting life Christ won for us through his life, death, and resurrection?

(The priest may now bless the people with holy water. As he does so he prays: ‘May the Lord bless you and keep you faithful.’ Meanwhile each one should pray silently for the grace to be faithful to Christ).

Let us pray:

Heavenly Father, we thank you that in a world which is full of false trials and false promises, you sent us your Son to teach us the truth about ourselves, about life, and about you. Help us to follow him more faithfully So that one “day we too may share fully in his Easter victory in the Kingdom of heaven where sadness and death will be no more. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

PRAYER OF THE FAITHFUL

Let us pray for a stronger faith in the resurrection of Jesus, and for a greater share in the joy and freedom of his risen life. R. Lord, hear us in your love.

For all Christians: that they may experience the resurrection in their families, in the joy they spread around them, and in the peace they make with one another. [Pause] We pray in faith.

For all government leaders: that they may enjoy some of the peace and joy Christ shared with his disciples on Easter Day, and so be encouraged in their work for justice and peace. [Pause] We pray in faith.

For those who have no faith in an afterlife: that the joy and hope of this great day may dawn for them too. [Pause] We pray in faith.

That we may be able to overcome our fear of death, since Christ underwent it and overcame it for us. [Pause] We pray in faith.

For local needs.

Let us pray.

God our Father, the power of this day drives away all evil, washes away all guilt, restores lost innocence, brings joy to those who mourn, casts out hatred, brings peace, and humbles earthly pride. May we experience its power in our lives and in the Church? We ask this through Christ our Lord.

SIGN OF PEACE

Lord Jesus Christ, on Easter Sunday evening, the doors being shut where the disciples were gathered, you came among them and said: ‘Peace be with you’. Then you showed them your wounded hands and side, and they were filled with joy. Help us to experience the joy of your presence among us, so that we may enjoy the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live for ever and ever.

COMMUNION REFLECTION

As long as the sun comes over the hills,

scatters the darkness,

and fills the world with light;

as long as the fields get green again,

and the daisies and buttercups return;

as long as the trees

fill up again with leaves,

there is hope for us and for the world.

So, come my friends,

let us walk over the greening fields,

for the snow has melted,

and life is awakening from its sleep

and wanders through the hills and valleys.

Come, let us follow the footsteps of spring

in the far-off fields.

Come, let us ascend the heights

and gaze upon the waving greenness of the plains below.

O come, let us rejoice on this Easter Day,

for death has folded up his tent and gone away.