|OT Readings||Responses||NT Reading/ response||Gospel|
|[1.] Gn 1:1-2:2
[2.] Gn 22:1-18
[3.] Ex 14:15-15:1
[4.] Is 54:5-14
[5.] Is 55:1-11
[6.] Bar 3:9-15, 32-4:4
[7.] Ez 36:16-17a, 18-28
|[1.] Ps 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 13-14, 24, 35 or Ps 33:4-5, 6-7, 12-13, 20, 22
[2.] Ps 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11
[3.] Ex 15:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 17-18
[4.] Ps 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13
[5.] Is 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
[6.] Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11
[7.] Ps 42:3, 5; 43:3, 4 (Baptism)
Is 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6 (No baptism)
or Ps 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19
Response: Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
|Mk 16: 1-7|
|Lectionary note: Reading options|
|The Lectionary presents two different sets of readings for Easter: the Easter Vigil mass, and the mass of Easter day. This commentary follows the readings for the Easter Vigil mass.|
Seeking the one who is raised
The Easter Vigil is the most important liturgy in the church year. The Lectionary presents up to seven Hebrew scripture readings and two Christian scripture readings, carefully chosen to highlight creation/re-creation, slavery/freedom, exile/return, as well as water (Baptism), God’s Spirit (Confirmation), and messianic feast (Eucharist).
Many parishes read a shorter list of the readings, including the following required ones:
- Creation of the world (Gn 1:1-2:2). This reading tells the story of God’s creation, from the dark, formless wasteland to humans in God’s likeness. The first creation, centered in goodness, prepares us for Christ’s new creation, which restores the world to God’s intended goodness.
- Sacrifice of Isaac (Gn 22:1-18). The “binding of Isaac” tells the story of a son who will be offered as a sacrifice. Jewish tradition associates this story with Passover; Christians understand Isaac as a type who foreshadows Jesus’ sacrificial death.
- Escape from Egypt (Ex 14:15-15:1). This reading tells of the Hebrews’ escape from Egypt through the sea. Just as the Hebrews passed from slavery to freedom through the water, so also Christians pass from the slavery of sin to the freedom of new life through baptism’s waters.
- Baptized in Christ’s death (Rom 6: 3-11). This reading is the turning point from Hebrew scripture to Christian scripture, and from prophecy to fulfillment. Baptism moves us from darkness to light, from death to life, and from exile to resurrection.
Mark’s gospel proclaims the resurrection. A young man in a white robe explains its meaning to the women who are Jesus’ disciples:
- You seek the crucified one. The Greek verb ζητέω (dzay-TEH-oh) means “to seek” or “to search after.” Mark has used this word before to indicate someone seeking discipleship. Mark also uses the gerund form of the Greek verb σταυρόω (stow-ROH-oh) (=”the crucified one.”) This seems to be a formula for an early confession of faith (see 1 Cor 1:23).
- He was raised. The Greek verb ἐγείρω (eh-GYE-roh) means “to wake,” “to raise up,” or “to restore.” Here Mark uses the passive voice, or the “divine passive,” to indicate that it is God who has raised Jesus. God has answered Jesus’ prayer from the cross (see Mk 15:34).
- You will see him in Galilee. The Greek verb ὀπτάνομαι (ohp-TAH-noh-mah-ee) means “to be visible to,” “to appear,” or “to show oneself.” Mark uses this word to let the disciples know that Jesus will appear to them, as the other gospels describe.
Mark leaves his readers, all new and newly received Catholics, and the believing community with an empty tomb, the white-robed young man’s message, and the promise that we will see Jesus. Mark’s resurrection account forces our choice: either we believe everything we’ve heard in his gospel and become a disciple, or we walk away, fearful and confused. Mark’s ending leads us back to his gospel’s beginning: it starts with a message from God that points to a meeting with Jesus. The empty tomb is a promise that God fulfilled to Jesus by raising him from the dead, and a promise Jesus will fulfill to us by raising us.
Easter’s message is this: the empty tomb is a sign that those who seek Jesus in faith will see him. This night he is especially present in the Sacraments of Initiation and the new members of the believing community. Alleluia!