Daily Readings Reflection for 4/13/09

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Reflection on the Daily Readings for 4/13/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings


Scripture: Easter Monday. Acts 2:14.22-32. Psalm 16:1-2.5.7-8.9-10.11.
Matthew 28:8-15. Lectionary # 261:

Since the Easter Vigil and the great solemnity of Easter itself, we
have listened to three different accounts of the Resurrection from Mark,
John, and now Matthew.  We will journey with the disciples and friends of
Jesus through all of the variant resurrection accounts during this octave
and even after it.  Yesterday we focused upon three of the earliest
witnesses: Mary Magdalene, Peter, and the Beloved Disciple. Today the words
of Jesus to the women disciples are the focus of our meditation upon this
mystery of the Risen Lord. Like them we hear from Matthew the living voice
of the Resurrected Christ.  His words are filled with hope for us who mourn
not only his death but the many others who have died among our friends,
relatives, and neighbors.
Pope Benedict in his Easter homily stressed the importance of
Christian hope.  We recall how he developed a beautiful essay on hope
within the past year and a half and that too should help us in our
reflections on hope. Perhaps, it was the first for a Pope to write such an
essay which developed the virtue of hope.  The recent loss of over two
hundred people in Aquila,Italy through an earthquake is why he also
insisted on hope in the resurrection.  Italy had draped flags from north to
south, that is, throughout the whole country. The sole hope these people
have is in the resurrection of Jesus. Their loved ones are promised by the
Lord to share in his resurrection; we likewise have hope to share in that
promise of resurrection. It is through our faith that we are led to have
the anchor of hope; it is the love of Jesus for us through the Paschal
Mysteries that effects love within us and builds upon our faith and our
hope.
We return to the three different words Jesus gives to the women:
“Peace (Shalom in Jesus’ language); Do not be afraid; Go, carry the news to
my brothers that they are to go to Galilee where they will see me.” We are
able to assimilate these words throughout this day and make them our
prayer.  The scholar Aviezer Ravitzky defines the biblical concept of
Shalom for us: “The Hebrew word for peace,shalom,is derived from a root
denoting wholeness or completeness, and its frame of reference throughout
Jewish literature is bound up with  the notion of shelemut, perfection. Its
significance is thus not limited to the political domain–to the absence of
war and enmity–or to the social–to the absence of quarrel and strife. It
ranges over several spheres and refer in different contexts to bounteous
physical conditions, to a moral value, and ultimately, to a cosmic
principle and divine attribute.” (Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert, p.
204).
Jesus has often said to his apostles and friends, “Do not fear!” Fear
blocks hope and love and thwarts our growth in faith. We are told by St.
John that perfect love casts out all fear.  We can learn this from Jesus in
what he went through in his last days wherein the Paschal Mysteries began.,
Finally, we are called to be witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection by
knowing we are forgiven and have good news to bring to others because of
this event.  Its liberation for us Christians parallels the Exodus and its
liberating effect on the people of Israel.  Jesus tells the women that the
brethren are to go to Galilee where they will see him. Again it is another
promise of Jesus, the Son of God.
Fr. Benedict T.Viviano comments on the event of today’s Gospel: “This
event, accessible only to faith, is not yet the fullness of the kingdom on
earth, but it points to the permanent kingdom in heaven.” (New Jerome
Biblical Commentary, p.672). Amen.

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