Word To Life
Sunday Scripture Readings, April 8, 2012
By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
April 8, Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord
Cycle B Readings:
1) Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
2) Colossians 3:1-4
Gospel: John 20:1-9
Sammy is 13, so one should take his grousing about his restrictions at home with a grain of salt. There are a lot of rules at Sammy's place, partly because his home is a room he shares with his mother and four siblings at a Christian-based family shelter.
Sammy listed the punitive consequences of having food in one's room, leaving the building after hours or skipping evening chapel. Then, striking a satirically incredulous pose, he said, "And they call themselves Christian!"
It was a humorous complaint: The restrictions he told me about were not unreasonable, given the circumstances.
But his point, however flawed in the specific instance, reminded me of how we Christians sometimes seem content to simply languish in the consequences of sin rather than believing in the hope of change and new life.
It's like staying in the tomb.
We help build schools and clinics in impoverished communities but "complete the task" without assisting the local people to develop a sustainable funding stream to pay teachers or medical staff, leaving them in the tomb of poverty -- likely meaning we'll need to help again.
We force the shutdown of a clinic that performs abortions because we've made it unprofitable for the physician to work there, not because he's had a change of heart. While we exult in gaining hope for unborn babies, we abandon the doctor in a tomb of cultural darkness.
This is Easter Sunday. The Scriptures direct us out of the tomb to truly believe in conversion to new life. "If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above ... not of what is on earth," Paul says to the Colossians.
We must not believe in the power of earthly obstacles, his words tell us, whether it is accepting that poor communities will always need us or taking pleasure in the demise of a sinful man or woman. Life doesn't stop at the stone covering the tomb. Jesus really is powerful enough to move it away.
Mark's Gospel reading for the Easter Vigil tells us how Christians are called to belief and life with Christ beyond the sinful human condition that holds us in the tomb: "He has been raised; he is not here."
What are some examples of people or situations that you don't believe can change? What must you do to change your attitude and actions to live by a belief in resurrected life with Jesus?
SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:
"Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?" (Mark 16:3).
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