Exegesis

  

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Select Exegesis
April, 21 2019

Easter Sunday (C)

Dr Terrance Callan

oday we conclude our annual observance of Holy Week by celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  On Holy Thursday we recall Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples and his arrest.  On Good Friday we recall Jesus’ crucifixion.  And on Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday we celebrate the resurrection.  We remember these same events every time we celebrate the Eucharist.  But we also remember them in more detail once each year.

            The reading from the Acts of the Apostles is part of a speech given by Peter to Cornelius and his household in which he presents the heart of Christian faith.  Peter recalls the career of Jesus.  It began “after the baptism that John preached;” “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power;” Jesus went about doing good and healing those oppressed by the devil.  Jesus was crucified and raised by God on the third day.  God made Peter and others witnesses of Jesus’ return to life and sent them to preach to the people.  They testify that God appointed Jesus judge of the living and the dead, and the means of forgiveness of sins for those who believe in him.

            This is one way to sum up the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection.  The resurrection shows us that God has made Jesus judge of the living and the dead, and that we can receive forgiveness of sins by believing in him.

            The reading from the gospel according to John tells part of the story of how Peter and others became witnesses of the resurrection.  In the reading from Acts Peter speaks about eating and drinking with Jesus after he rose from the dead.  But before that they discovered that the tomb in which Jesus had been buried was empty.  Mary of Magdala went to the tomb early in the morning of the first day of the week, i.e., Sunday.  When she found the tomb empty, she told Peter and the beloved disciple about it.  They ran to the tomb.  The beloved disciple arrived first but waited to let Peter go into the tomb before him.  When they saw the burial cloths still in the tomb, the beloved disciple believed.  Until Jesus rose from the dead, his followers did not realize that this is what scripture said would happen.

            The reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Colossians tells us that Christ’s resurrection is not his alone; we rise with him.  When we believe in Christ, we are united with him in such a way that we share in his death and resurrection.  At the present time our “life is hidden with Christ in God.”  But when Christ returns, we too “will appear with him in glory.”  Meanwhile, we should “think of what is above, not of what is on earth” because we have been raised with Christ who “is seated at the right hand of God.”

            The alternative second reading, from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, also speaks of the implications of Christ’s resurrection for the way we should live.  Paul says that the death and resurrection of Jesus was the sacrifice of the paschal lamb.  We Christians live in a perpetual Passover.  At Passover Jews remove all yeast from their homes.  Paul interprets yeast as a symbol of malice and wickedness, and says that because it is always Passover, Christians need to avoid such things.  Instead we should celebrate our Passover “with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

 Terrance Callan

 


 

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