Sunday 12 April 2020
First Reading – John 20: 1-10
The Empty Tomb
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Second Reading – Easter Sermon by St John Chrysostom
Is there anyone here who is a devout lover of God? Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival. Is there anyone who is a grateful servant? Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord! Are there any now weary with fasting? Let them now receive their wages! If they have toiled from the first hour, let them receive their due reward; If any have come after the third hour, let him with gratitude join in the Feast! And he that arrived after the sixth hour, let him not doubt; for he shall have sustained no loss. And if any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him not hesitate; but let him come too. And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour, let him not be afraid by reason of his delay. For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first. He gives rest to him who comes at the eleventh hour, as well as to him who toiled from the first. To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows. He accepts the work as he greets the endeavor. The deed He honors and the intention He commends.
Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord! First and last alike receive your reward; rich and poor, rejoice together! Sober and slothful, celebrate the day! You that have kept the fast, and you that have not, rejoice today for the Table is richly laden! Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one. Let no one go away hungry; partake, all, of the cup of faith. Enjoy all the riches of His goodness! Let no one grieve at his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the death of our Savior has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it. He destroyed Hades when he descended into it. He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh. Isaiah foretold this when he said, You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below. Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with. It was in an uproar, because it was mocked. It was in an uproar, for it was destroyed. It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated. It is in an uproar because it is now made captive. Hell took a body, and it discovered God. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see. O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you, O death, are annihilated! Christ is risen, and the evil ones are cast down! Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ is risen, and life is liberated! Christ is risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ, having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen!