READINGS AND REFLECTION
Saturday, Octave of Easter, 18 April 2020
Acts 4:13-21 – We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard
THE rulers, elders and scribes were astonished at the assurance shown by Peter and John, considering they were uneducated laymen; and they recognised them as associates of Jesus; but when they saw the man who had been cured standing by their side, they could find no answer.
So they ordered them to stand outside while the Sanhedrin had a private discussion. ‘What are we going to do with these men?’ they asked.
‘It is obvious to everybody in Jerusalem that a miracle has been worked through them in public, and we cannot deny it. But to stop the whole thing spreading any further among the people, let us caution them never to speak to anyone in this name again.’
So they called them in and gave them a warning on no account to make statements or to teach in the name of Jesus.
But Peter and John retorted, ‘You must judge whether in God’s eyes it is right to listen to you and not to God. We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard.’
The court repeated the warnings and then released them; they could not think of any way to punish them, since all the people were giving glory to God for what had happened.
Mark 16:9-15 – Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News
HAVING risen in the morning on the first day of the week, Jesus appeared first to Mary of Magdala from whom he had cast out seven devils. She then went to those who had been his companions, and who were mourning and in tears, and told them.
But they did not believe her when they heard her say that he was alive and that she had seen him.
After this, he showed himself under another form to two of them as they were on their way into the country. These went back and told the others, who did not believe them either.
Lastly, he showed himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table. He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
And he said to them, ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.’
Appearances of the Risen Lord read from Easter Vigil to Saturday Octave of Easter:
- Easter Vigil (Mt 28:1-10)
- Easter Sunday (Jn 20:1-9)
- Easter Monday (Mt 28:8-15)
- Easter Tuesday (Jn 20:13-18)
- Easter Wednesday (Lk 24: 13-35)
- Easter Thursday (Lk 24:35-48)
- Easter Friday (Jn 21:1-14)
- Easter Saturday (Mk 16:9-15)
THROUGHOUT the Octave of Easter (eight-day Celebration, from Easter Vigil to Easter Saturday), all the gospel readings are on the Appearances of the Risen Lord. Today, the last day of Easter Octave, we read from the Gospel of St. Mark, the only gospel left unread at Easter till today.
Of the four evangelists (writers of the gospels) St. Mark is the most direct, the most honest, and the harshest, when it comes to reprimanding the unbelief, incredulity, and obstinacy of the disciples with regard to the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Having St. Mark read to the face of each Christian on the last day of Easter Octave is most pertinent, for many are slow to believe.
The disciples did not believe in the resurrection report of Mary of Magdala, even though they “were mourning and in tears”, crocodile tears.
They did not believe in Cleopas and his companion who met the Risen Lord on the Road to Emmaus and recognized Him in the Breaking of Bread.
Jesus had to appear to the Eleven personally when they were gathered together at table to reproach the whole leadership “for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen”.
St. Mark doesn’t mince words. He says Jesus did not mince His words either. Get on now. Just ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.’
At every Appearance, the Risen Lord always told and commanded the disciples to go out to spread the Good News. The Resurrection of Christ has always meant Evangelization. There is, however, a graver tone in the Risen Lord’s commissioning command in St. Mark.
The disciples are not just told to tell the whole world, all peoples and nations, but ALL CREATION.
The Truth that Christ is Risen must be heard and felt by the earth and sky, the mountains, rivers and seas, the trees and every plant, the fish and the reptiles, birds, and all animals that crawl upon the earth.
Easter is Easter to all that the Creator has made. Easter is the whole human family and the whole ECOLOGY.
But what could the previously incredulous Eleven do when told directly by Him who died, rose, now right in front of them giving His command to evangelize? Because you did not believe, you will now have to talk even to the mountains, rivers, seas, plants, and every monkey as well!
We will remember that on Easter Vigil, the Mother of all vigils, the vigil of a new creation, after the reading the wonders of God’s Creation, we responded with Psalm 103:
“Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth!”
Before we move into Divine Mercy Sunday tomorrow, Second Sunday of Easter, let each of us be reproached by the Risen Lord Himself, and be prepared to go out to proclaim the Good News to ALL CREATION.
May we and all be truly green with new life in the Springtime God has given to all creation through the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ!
We can perhaps begin by just tidying up our own house and compound and then water the plants after over four weeks of MCO! If the Spirit of the Risen Lord is in us, every plant will rise and be nice to us.
Quote Image: Redemptoristine Nuns, Dublin Ireland