Easter Sunday (B)
March 31, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.








 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,
God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

FIRST READING Acts 10.34a, 36-43

34 Peter began to speak to those assembled in the house of Cornelius. 36 “You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ— he is Lord of all. 37 That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 “We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40 but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 “He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23

R. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

SECOND READING 1 Corinthians 5.6b-8

6 Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, as you really are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.


Christians praise the Paschal Victim
Offer thankful sacrifice.
Christ the Lamb has saved the sheep;
Christ the Just One paid the price,
Reconciling sinners to the Father.

Death and Life fought bitterly
For this wondrous victory;
The Lord of life who died
Reigns glorified!

O Mary, come and say
What you saw at break of day.
"The empty tomb of my living Lord!
I saw Christ Jesus risen, and adored!"

Bright angels testified,
Shroud and grave-cloths side by side!
"Yes, Christ my hope rose gloriously.
He goes before you into Galilee."

Share the good news, sing joyfully:
His death is victory!
Lord Jesus, victor King, show us mercy.
Amen. Alleluia!


GOSPEL   John 20:1-9

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

CATENA NOVA (see separate entry)


      Where's Agatha Christie when you need her?  She would certainly unravel this "paschal" mystery.  There are plenty of possibilities.  For example, did the soldiers standing watch do it?  Did the high priest send the temple guard to do it?  Could his disciples have done it?  Maybe Joseph of Arimathea or Nicodemus?   I'm talking about the stone that covered the tomb.  It was a huge boulder, you know.  Must have weighed a couple hundred pounds.  Mary Magdalene sure didn’t do it.  Maybe “the angels” did it.  Right.
     One thing’s for sure, the body was gone from the tomb.  And someone had to move the stone to get it out of there.  Seems like a lot of trouble to go through for a “Messiah” like him.  Why should the authorities worry about those rumors of a resurrection?  After all, who’s going to believe in a crucified Messiah?  And those disciples of his.  Why can’t they give it up?  Admit they were fooled by another religious fanatic.  And let it rest.  In the tomb where it belongs.  Why bother moving that big stone?
     Still, someone moved it.  No one’s ever denied it.  Not the Jewish authorities.  Or the Romans.  They all agree the grave was opened, and the body missing.  Mary was telling this much truth: The Lord has been taken from the tomb! (G)  And if it wasn’t true all that stuff about someone “rising from the dead” could easily be denied.  Makes you wonder, doesn't it?  If the ones who put him to death had the body, why don’t they show it, and put an end to all this nonsense Peter is spouting?  On the other hand, if he really is alive, why doesn’t he show himself plainly?  For all to see.  Why does a Messiah, even a crucified one, need witnesses to convince others?  It just doesn’t make sense, does it?
     Surely, Mary, Peter and John know how foolish the whole thing sounds. Stories of a body that walks through walls, yet eats and drinks.  Mary herself admits she didn’t recognize him at first.  She thought he was the gar­dener.  Nor do they hide the fact Peter too didn’t get it.  He ran to the tomb, saw the cloths lying there, and stood by bewildered.  They even tell how Thomas didn’t believe a thing they said.  These poor deluded souls make no secret of their own slowness to accept what they expect everyone else to believe.  They don’t even try to get their stories straight.  These gospels, as they call them, hardly agree on the details.  Strange bunch, these Christians.  Still, they insist on one thing: The Lord has risen indeed! (cf. Entrance Antiphon)
     Now thoughts like these must have crossed the minds of people who first heard those words, “He is risen!”  And like the stone blocking the tomb’s entrance, such thoughts must have been a stumbling-block to faith. They might be for us too.  We're so used to the Easter story — er, I mean, stories — that I wonder if the “rock” of faith hasn’t lost some of its weight, some of its hardness and roughness, on us.  This faith we clothe today in white, ‘midst lily and finery; that we splash around with water; that we kindle at night to greet the dawn; that we feast on with Bread and Wine, and set in spring when days grow long— has this faith grown too light, too soft, too smooth, I wonder?
     When we say, “I believe” this man’s suffering and death gives meaning to my own; when we shout “I believe” this man is risen so I too might rise from the dead; when we confess, “I believe” this man is the one to whom all the prophets testify (cf. I) and in whom every hope is met: Do we do this all too easily as in a few moments when we renew our baptismal promises?  With too little thought, too little wonder, too little doubt?  Is our faith the kind that makes us appear to others as foolish as Magdalene, as mistaken as Peter, as simple as John?  In a world that knows but faith betrayed, hope dashed, and love denied, can we really celebrate the feast …with the…. bread of sincerity and truth? (II)
     Yes we can.  We must.  For we are the ones, like Mary, Peter, and John, who eat and drink with Christ after he rose from the dead We are the ones, like Mary, Peter, and John he still commissions to preach and testify [Christ] is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. (cf. I)  Like Mary, Peter, and John, we are the little yeast which has its effect all through the dough. (II)
     Little, like Mary Magdalene, who first announced the resurrec­tion, despite the fact women could not serve as witnesses under the Law of Moses.  While her social status could have weighed her down like a stone, instead she became "the apostle to the apostles."  Little, like Peter, whose credibility was shot for denying the Lord three times.  His infidelity could have weighed him down like a stone, instead he became "the Rock" on whom Christ would build his church.  Little, like John, whose youth could have weighed him down like a stone, instead he  showed more understanding than the oth­ers when he saw and believed (G).
     So no matter the “stones” that weigh us down, or the weight faith might place on our shoulders, the load can be borne.  And we can run, like Mary, Peter and John, to tell the truth in spite of doubt, in spite of failure, in spite of disbelief. The truth that the stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. By the LORD has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes. (RP)  


INTERCESSIONS (Joe Milner; The Sunday Website)

For the Church: that we may radiate the light of Christ each day and confidently live as daughters and sons of God

For all the newly baptized: that they may faithfully follow Jesus and keep the light of Christ burning in their lives

For all the baptized: that Christ will pour out the Spirit upon us and enable us to continue the mission of bringing hope, meaning, and love to our society.

For all who find themselves walking in darkness or doubting their faith: that they may encounter the Risen Lord who brings light to their journey and peace to their hearts.

For all who struggle for peace and justice: that God will provide a new springtime of faith that will yield an abundant harvest to their efforts.

For all who are suffering: that the Risen Lord will bring hope, safety, and new opportunities to the poor, the unemployed, refugees, immigrants, and run-away children.

For an end to violence: that God will turn hearts from using violence to settle differences, open options for dialogue, and protect the innocent from harm.

For all who are recovering from storms and natural disasters: that God will heal the injured, protect people from further harm, give them peace and hope, and open the hearts of many to assist them.

For all who are alone or isolated: that the joy of Christ resurrection will renew their spirits and that they may find strength in God’s abiding presence.

For the gift of peace: that the Spirit of God will bring forth a springtime of peace in our cities, our nation, and amongst nations so that all people may live in safety and with dignity.

God of undying life, by your mighty hand you raised up Jesus from the grave and appointed him judge of the living and the dead. Bestow upon those baptised into his death the power flowing from his resurrection, that we may proclaim near and far the pardon and peace you give us. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen (ICEL; 1998)


OFFERTORY MOTET  (Easter Anthem; William Billings; 1746-1800)
The Lord is ris'n indeed,
Now is Christ risen from the dead,
and become the first fruits of them that slept.
And did He rise?
Hear, O ye nations, hear it, O ye dead.
He rose, He burst the bars of death,
He burst the bars of death and triumph'd o'er the grave.
Then I rose,
then first humanity triumphant passed the crystal ports of light,
and seiz'd eternal youth.
Man, all immortal hail, hail,
Heaven, all lavish of strange gifts to man,
Thine's all the glory, man's the boundless bliss.

Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain,
Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

In the grave they laid Him, Love who had been slain,
Thinking that He never would awake again,
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen: 
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

Forth He came at Easter, like the risen grain,
Jesus who for three days in the grave had lain;
Quick from the dead the risen One is seen:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Jesus' touch can call us back to life again,
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been: 
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.