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April 5, 2015; Easter Day



April 5, 2015; Easter Day


Kawagoe Catholic Church
The Resurrection of the Lord

Our Church was established on our belief in the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. People who ‘have encountered Jesus’ death and resurrection’, experienced the deep joy. And by expressing this joy to many people, the Church has expanded. Mary Magdalene represents the people who had such experiences.
Today’s Gospel starts with Mary Magdalene’s visit to the tomb.
Mary Magdalene was a woman mentioned in the Gospel. She was the one from whom Jesus cast out seven demons. (Luke 8:2)
Peter says in today’s first reading, ‘Acts’, : “he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil.” (10:38)
She was the one who was healed by Jesus. And she was the person who followed Jesus to the end, stood under the cross and watched Jesus took His last breath. Above all, she got the blessing to be the first person to meet the resurrected Jesus. (cf. John 20:11-18)
“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.” (John 20:1)
It is written at the beginning of today’s Gospel. Mary had loved and adored Jesus. When she saw Jesus’ tragic death with her own eyes, how did she grieve and suffer? It seemed to the male disciples such as Peter that Jesus’ death was the end of everything. However, it was not so for her. She visited the tomb where Jesus was buried, longing to see traces of Jesus in her memory. But then she found the tomb was empty and Jesus’ body wasn’t there. Yet after this she met Jesus. How great was Mary’s joy at that time? The resurrection of Jesus was an incident that the disciples didn’t expect. Also it seemed that Mary Magdalene didn’t understand Jesus’ prophecy in His lifetime about His crucifixion and resurrection. Therefore their surprise and joy was so great.
During the holy week, we have meditated on Jesus’ Passion. Jesus’ Passion is a tragedy caused by the sins and evils of human beings. God accepted Jesus’ death for the redemption and salvation of all people, and resurrected Jesus. Resurrection means victory over sins, death and evils. Jesus was resurrected and the Holly Spirit was poured into the disciples. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus has fulfilled and expanded His mission. We can call such mission of the Church, to ‘Evangelization’. Evangelization includes the mission ‘to work to realize peace’. Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan issued the message titled “70 Years after the War. Blessed are the peacemakers – Now especially, peace must not depend upon weapons” on February 25, 2015. This message roughly expresses as follows: The Church should speak up about the human life and dignity toward the world. We, Japanese firmly determined to renounce war based on our miserable experience of the war.
Also the Church of Japan realizes and confesses responsibility for the war. And we fear about the lately tendency, problems about understanding of history and the move of military build-up. All people should cooperate for peace of the human race beyond the difference of a position, religious, nation and the ethnic group.
I strongly recommend you to read it. Let us pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit that we can work well as “the Apostle of peace”.



[All the Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition (NRSVCE), copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]


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