Easter Sunday for Grown-Ups

Begin with a few moments of quiet.

The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.

This is a 5 minute facilitated meditation on opening ourselves to the presence of God within, particularly in the context of our current confinement

Alternatively use this method of entering quiet:

Invite all present to sit comfortably.

When sitting comfortably, take three deep breaths, as you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.

Now return to breathing normally and make the sign of the cross:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Invite each person present to take a few moments to reflect on:
Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?

Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so.
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Introduce the Gospel

On Easter Sunday we celebrate that the tomb, or grave, where they had buried Jesus is empty. We now know that is because he rose form the dead, at the time those who discovered it didn’t understand that.

You may wonder why the people were going to the tomb where Jesus was buried. A tomb isn’t like the graves we use now. Tomb’s were caves where the bodies of those who died were placed. The bodies would be cleaned and anointed with oils when they were put into the tomb as a way of respecting and showing dignity to the person who had died.
Jesus died late on the Friday evening. The Jewish sabbath begins at sunset on the Friday and ends at sunrise on the Sunday. Any type of manual labour was prohibited on the Sabbath. So they could only put the body into the tomb and leave on the Friday evening. Therefore the women were going there first thing on the Sunday morning to do what they needed in regards to cleansing and anointing.

We are going to read from John’s account of this event today.

On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb

Read the GospelJohn 20:1-10
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.

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. 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.”
Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in.
Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the
disciples returned to their homes.

Reflect on the Gospel

Take some time now to reflect on what you have read.
There are many approaches to this. Over the coming weeks, we will offer some different approachs. Use a method you are used to or use the one we offer.

Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge. Use the quietening music again if you wish

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Keep it simple today.

Imagine you being the one who arrived and discovered the empty tomb.

Think, what would your expectation have been on going there, either as Mary going that morning or as one of the two disciples who went to investigate what Mary had reported to them. Just take one of the characters and try to feel what they experienced, as the passage unfolds.

What does it say or mean for you today?

What do you want to say to God arising from that moment of reflection?

Read a little further

Sometimes it is helpful to read on beyond the passage itself. IN this case, there is a very rich follow on passage. Mary stays there at the tomb after the other two returned home. She is the first to encounter the risen Christ as a result.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”
Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).
Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and
announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Finish your reflection by considering, how does this extra element change your thinking from earlier?

Speak to God, in your own words, about it. .

Finish this part with a Prayer

Saving God, as we recall in word and gesture the great events of salvation, let us know your healing love once more. Amen.

Prayer of the Faithful

In the Mass, the prayer of the faithful are the people’s response to their reflection on the Scripture readings. The following have been prepared by parishioners for our Masses on this weekend.

We open our prayer by addressing God directly:  In our continued isolation and separation we can be at one with Mary in despair at the empty tomb. But in remaining there, in her grief and loss, we know she had an encounter with the risen Christ.  We turn to this same risen Christ and offer our thanksgiving for our experiences of the Body of Christ active in our world:

Ours are the eyes with which the Risen Christ looks with compassion on this world:
we rejoice in the work of the various front line staff: medical, cleaning, transport, policing, bin collection, street cleaning, fire and ambulance.
Lord hear us, for we are an Easter people rejoicing in You.

Ours are the feet with which the Risen Christ walks to do good:
we celebrate in the work of our food producers, farmers, fishermen, growers, postal deliveries, supermarket and corner shop staff and cashiers.
Lord hear us, for we are an Easter people rejoicing in You.

Ours are the hands, with which the Risen Christ blesses our world
we give thanks for our priests, our religious leaders, those many and various volunteers involved in supporting us in our confinement.
Lord hear us, for we are an Easter people rejoicing in You.

We are the hands, we are the feet
we acknowledge all of us who are working together in saving lives by staying in, by keeping apart, by remaining together in our separation.
Lord hear us, for we are an Easter people rejoicing in You.

For your own intentions: name those intentions you specifically want to mention Lord hear us, for we are an Easter people rejoicing in You.

For all who have died  ………. name those people you specifically want to remember Lord hear us, for we are an Easter people rejoicing in You.

Loving God, you love us more than we can imagine or take in. Help us to allow ourselves to be so loved by you, that your love may penetrate our hearts, our lives and our loves. We ask this through Jesus, who died and rose for love of us and who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Use the quietening music one more time, if you wish, to bring your prayer time to a close.

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Additional Resources

Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Gospel – Click Here