Msgr. Owen Campion
The Sunday Gospel
March 30, 2024 // Perspective

Rejoice in the Resurrection of the Lord, for He Is Risen

Msgr. Owen Campion
The Sunday Gospel

The Resurrection of the Lord

A variety of biblical readings occurs in the course of liturgical celebrations for Easter. For instance, the Liturgy of the Word for the Easter Vigil is unsurpassed among all the feasts of the year.

These reflections center upon the readings for the Eucharist celebrated during the day on Easter itself.

The first reading is from the Acts of the Apostles. As this season continues, often the Church will draw from Acts its first Scriptural reading. In this reading, Peter addresses a crowd. His sermon, one of several in the early chapters of Acts, capsulized the Gospel message. Jesus is Lord. John the Baptist foretold the coming of Jesus. Jesus was the gift and representative of God. Jesus died on Calvary for the sins of all humanity.

After dying on Calvary, Jesus rose and was seen by witnesses. The Lord sent the surviving apostles to proclaim the Gospel as they went into places far and near.

The reading, while crisp and not too long, focuses attention upon the Lord. The crucifixion redeemed the world. Then, Jesus rose from the dead. The Resurrection is more than a pious assertion of some vague, unearthly way to say that the Lord’s power endures from age to age through Christianity and its adherents.

Jesus rose from the dead in time and space. Witnesses saw the Risen Lord.

St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians provides the second reading. Paul calls the Corinthian Christians to turn to Jesus. They are with the Lord. The Lord is with them. Such is the effect of the Incarnation, of the Redemption, and of the personal decision to turn to God.

The Gospel of John furnishes the last reading. It is a triumphant story, revealing the excitement in which it was written. Mary Magdalene, forever faithful, discovered that the tomb is empty. She immediately alerted Peter and the other apostles to her discovery.

Peter and the Beloved Disciple hurried to see for themselves. The Beloved Disciple saw the empty tomb and remembered the Lord’s prophecy of rising from the dead.


The readings make clear that, for believers, Easter is the greatest of days, remembering that spectacular moment, unique among all humans, when, dead after being cruelly crucified, Christ literally returned to earthly life.

No other day surpasses Easter in Christian worship and expression. This has been true since the event itself.

Christians have reflected upon it, sung about it, and dreamed about it, and from their dreams emerged the “Easter bunny.”

It is a legend, but it has a message.

Supposedly, when Jesus magnificently returned to life, it was early in the morning. The only animal present and awake in the garden was a rabbit.

Rabbits were drab and ugly, fur too dark, ears too large. They could be vicious. They hid in the shadows. For the rabbit present at the Resurrection, the sight completely bleached its fur, becoming pure white.

Its behavior changed. It was docile and gentle. Instead of hiding, it anxiously, longingly, hopefully searched its surroundings, yearning for the Lord’s return. He will return! Its apparent nervousness is only a disguise for hope to see Jesus again, its gentleness a sign of openness to Jesus.

The legend – who knows if it has fact behind it – teaches us that knowing Jesus should transform us. He gives us a new set of values, perceptions, and goals. He can make us beautiful. He lives! Now! He loves us. He is still heard, in the Scriptures. He still is to be found in prayer and in the sacraments.

Rejoice! Pray to share the experience, and response, of the Easter rabbit. Seek to love as if, after encountering the loving Lord, life is forever changed for the better.

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