The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.
Year: C(II). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: White.
Other saints: Saint Donan
Argyll & the Isles
St Donan, or Donnan, came from Ireland and established a monastery on the Isle of Eigg in the Inner Hebrides. On Easter Sunday 617 he and his 52 companions were celebrating Mass when Danish pirates arrived. The pirates allowed them to finish the Mass and then beheaded them all.
Donan is the patron saint of Eigg.
Other saints: Bl Baptist Spagnoli of Mantua (1447-1516)
17 Apr (where celebrated)
Baptist came from a family who served the Dukes of Mantua, in a northern region of Italy. He entered a Carmelite community in Ferrara and professed his religious vows in 1464. This community was part of what would later be known as the ‘Mantuan Reform’, living a stricter observance of the Carmelite Rule and seeking a spirituality of integrity amidst laxity and lethargy that characterised many religious groups of the time.
It was during his studies and doctoral work at the University of Bologna (completed in 1475) that Baptist discovered his passion for poetry in the style of classic Latin antiquity. In the wake of the rise of Christian Humanism in literature, his passion drew him into friendships with many writers. The great humanist, Erasmus of Rotterdam, reading Baptist’s work, gave him the nickname “the Christian Vergil”. In addition to his poetic works, Baptist also used his writing skill to critique the violent political situation of Renaissance Italy. He used his pen to encourage his fellow Carmelites in their interior lives of solitude, prayer and recollection, and he also wrote prayers and poems that honoured Mary and the saints.
Baptist also demonstrated a gift for leadership. Six times he was elected Vicar General for the Reformed Congregation (the Mantuan Reform). He was well known for his direct and eloquent condemnation of the corruption and immorality that was prevalent in the Church of the time. In 1513 Baptist was elected Prior General for the whole Order, a role that lasted until his death in 1516.
Other saints: Bl. Clara Gambacorta OP (1362 - 1419)
17 Apr (where celebrated)
Dominican Nun and Widow.
Blessed Clara was born in Pisa in 1362, married at the age of twelve and widowed at the age of fifteen. She longed to join a religious order, but her family objected. When at last they relented, upon the advice of Saint Catherine of Siena she received the Dominican habit at the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Pisa. In 1385 along with Blessed Maria Mancini she founded the Monastery of Saint Dominic in Pisa where regular observance was strictly maintained. She was noted for her great prudence and charity, especially in pardoning the assassin of her father and brothers. She prized study and urged her sisters to do likewise. She died on April 17, 1419.
Other saints: Bl. Maria Mancini OP ( - 1431)
17 Apr (where celebrated)
Dominican Nun and Widow.
Catharine Mancini was born at Pisa around the middle of the fourteenth century. By the time she was twenty-five she had been widowed twice and left bereft of all her children. At the urging of Saint Catherine of Siena she became a Sister of Penance and later entered the monastery founded by Blessed Clara Gambacorta where she took the name Maria. There she devoted herself to contemplation and penance, and upon the death of Blessed Clara, became prioress. She died there on January 22, 1431.
Today's Gospel: Why Peter went first
The other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground… but did not go in.
It is possible – and wise theologians have done it – to read into this passage a typological statement about Peter, as founder of the Church; and indeed there is nothing wrong in this. But at the more literal and more human level there is also material for reflection.
We all see the events from Good Friday to Easter Sunday morning in a distorted perspective. We can’t not, because we know what happened at Easter. Imbued with the story of Jesus’ rising on the third day, we inevitably think in terms of his being dead and buried for three days. That is an anachronistic viewpoint. Viewed through the eyes of anyone who lived through those days, Jesus was dead and buried for ever, until something new and unimaginable happened.
The situation on Holy Saturday, as far as the disciples knew, was not that Jesus going to rise tomorrow but that that he was dead and would never rise again. This Gospel moment on Easter Sunday has to be understood in the same sense. What was in John’s mind as he ran? He knew that the most perfect and Godlike man had been humiliated and destroyed in the worst way imaginable, because he had seen it happen. Now he was embarking on the journey of mourning by enacting his grief and paying his respects. And as he approached the tomb, he saw that something had happened.
Stop there for a moment, remembering to forget the Resurrection, and think what that ‘something’ could have been. What could possibly have happened, except something bad? Primitive societies show extreme respect for their enemies’ dead. If their enemies cannot retrieve those bodies then they bury them themselves, according to their own rites or according to as close an approximation to the enemy’s rite as they can manage. But the Jews and the Romans were not primitive but civilised. They had no superstitious taboos about death. So if the tomb was disturbed, it could only be that Jesus’ executioners had decided that death was not enough for him – that the one they had humiliated and spat on in life had to be desecrated in death also.
That is what John ran towards, and then stopped because he could not bear to see it. It was Peter, the impulsive, the unthinking, who went on and, looking in, found the world turned upside down.
Liturgical colour: white
White is the colour of heaven. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate feasts of the Lord; Christmas and Easter, the great seasons of the Lord; and the saints. Not that you will always see white in church, because if something more splendid, such as gold, is available, that can and should be used instead. We are, after all, celebrating.
In the earliest centuries all vestments were white – the white of baptismal purity and of the robes worn by the armies of the redeemed in the Apocalypse, washed white in the blood of the Lamb. As the Church grew secure enough to be able to plan her liturgy, she began to use colour so that our sense of sight could deepen our experience of the mysteries of salvation, just as incense recruits our sense of smell and music that of hearing. Over the centuries various schemes of colour for feasts and seasons were worked out, and it is only as late as the 19th century that they were harmonized into their present form.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||(1 Corinthians 15:3-5) ©|
Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the scriptures; he was buried; and he was raised to life on the third day, in accordance with the scriptures. He appeared first to Cephas and secondly to the Twelve.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Ephesians 2:4-6 ©|
God loved us with so much love that he was generous with his mercy: when we were dead through our sins, he brought us to life with Christ – it is through grace that you have been saved – and raised us up with him and gave us a place with him in heaven, in Christ Jesus.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Romans 6:4 ©|
When we were baptised we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glory, we too might live a new life.