He is risen!

Easter Sunday

The Lord has risen indeed. Hallelujah!

Today we celebrate the greatest feast of the Church. Jesus has risen from the dead. He has won over death and he gives us hope that we too will one day rise from the dead and enjoy eternal life in heaven. It is a pity that the current pandemic, may dampen this hope. In other years, Easter meant family and friend gatherings, church celebrations and processions with the statue of the risen Lord, family lunch, shopping for gifts and baking of figolli and easter eggs. This year however, restrictions are in place. Yet it is worth remembering that the reason for our celebration has not changed. Jesus is the central message and no pandemic can change this. The pandemic has also a positive side. In some way, it is true that we do not have to live through the normal and quite hectic rythm of life. Lent may have turned out to be more significant so that today we are celebrating Easter with renewed faith. 

Today’s Gospel is according to St John. We witness the disappointment of Mary of Magdala, Peter and the beloved disciple (tradition says that this is St John). Jesus often spoke with them about his death and resurrection but they did not understand. Had they understood, when they went and found the empty tomb, their shouts of joy would have echoed throughout Jerusalem. Instead, they were confused. They saw the burial cloths and the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head. What could have happened? Had someone stolen Jesus’ body, would they have stopped to remove the burial cloths and fold the cloth which had covered his face? The Gospel says that the other disciple “saw and believed.” What did he believe? 

In the readings of the coming weeks, we will see that even if the apostles were at first confused and did not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead, Jesus met them several times and removed all doubts that they might have had. This gives hope to us too. Faith is a gift. If we want our faith to increase and be strengthened, we need to get to know Jesus better and also become more familiar with the teachings of the Church. The apostles came to believe that Jesus rose from the dead, not when they found the empty tomb but after meeting him again after his resurrection. In the same way, our personal meetings with Jesus will increase our faith. In this way, we will believe not because we listened to the witness given by others but because we personally have faith in Jesus and his promises become truth to us. If the last part of today’s Gospel, referring to the other disciple, is interpreted as belief in Jesus’ resurrection, then it was love which made him believe. It was his love for Jesus which made him run faster than the others and arrive first at the tomb, love helped him see and believe that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead.

If, we are feeling that our faith is weak, Jesus is again giving us this opportunity. In the coming weeks, he is again inviting us to walk with him, to allow him into our lives, to allow him to give us hope. During the coming weeks, let us join the father whose son had a mute spirit, and tell Jesus: “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mk 9, 24) Let us also accept Pope Francis’ request, “I invite all Christians, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”. (Evangelii Gaudium, 3)

A reading from the Gospel John (Jn 20, 1-9) 

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” 

So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. 

For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ

  1. Read the Gospel story so that you are familiar with it.
  2. Reflect on what the Gospel story is saying to you. Which points would you highlight and why?
  3. What does Jesus’ resurrection mean to you?
  4. In the Easter Triduum, we witnessed Jesus washing his friends’ feet, he gave his life for them, he was crucified for them. Jesus did not do this just for the apostles, he did this for us too. What does it mean for you to allow Jesus to wash your feet? What does it mean that Jesus comes to you in the Eucharist? What does it mean to you, that Jesus suffered and died a cruel death on the cross for you? Jesus wants you to know, that he understands what suffering means, he wants you to know that he is with you.
  5. Jesus rose from the dead, and he wants you to know, that even you will one day rise from the dead. However, before this day comes to be, he is calling you, so that like the apostles you are his witness to others. He wants you, first and foremost to be witness of his love, to your family. How are you being a witness to Christ?
  6. Together with your family find the right time to read this gospel. The environment helps, so before you start, prepare:
    i. The Bible reading from St John (20, 1-9)
    ii. A candle
    iii. Flowers, today is a great feast, show this joy through the decorations of the prayer table
    iv. A statue, an icon or a picture of the risen Lord
    v. Cover the table with white or gold cloth (you may also use gold tinsel, which is used for Christmas decorations)
    vi. A computer/laptop with the reading and clips
  7. Go through the steps with your children (2 age groups are being suggested)
  8. Feel free to adapt to your situation
  9. Be creative 😊
  10. Go to the Prayer Corner section to continue praying as a family

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Jesus has risen from the dead! Wow, what a great feast we are celebrating today. It is true that Jesus suffered a lot and he died on the cross, but Jesus did not remain dead! Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus also promised us that one day we will also rise from the dead and live with him in heaven. This means, that if we know people who died, although we cannot see them or talk to them, how we used to do while they were still alive, they are now living with Jesus. Someday we will again, meet them.

  • Jesus rose from the dead
  • 12 Easter eggs
  • Paper
  • pencil

Today we heard how on Sunday morning, Mary of Magdala (her name means that she was born in a place called Magdala, a city close to the Sea of Galilee), Jesus’ friend, went near the tomb. We remember that Jesus died on Friday and he was buried in a tomb which was in a field.

What did Mary see, when she came close to the tomb? (the rock which was in front of the tomb had been removed)

What did Mary do, when she saw that the tomb was open? (she ran to tell Jesus’ friends)

Two of his friends, Peter and someone else, ran to see what Mary had told them. Why did they run? (accept all reasonable answers)

Did Peter and his friend enter the tomb? (yes)

Was Jesus in the tomb? (no)

What do you think they told each other? (accept all reasonable answers)

Jesus was not in the tomb, because he had risen from the dead. Jesus was no longer dead! This was indeed a great miracle, which is even more singular and more special than any miracle which happened throughout history. Do you remember what a miracle is? (allow the children time to answer). A miracle is something which happens but it cannot be explained. One of the miracles Jesus did was to give sight to a blind man. Only God can do miracles. Miracles are not magic. There are people who learn how to do magic. No one can learn how to do miracles and no one can understand how a miracle is done. We believe that God can do anything and we believe that he definitively defeated death.

We have just started the special time of Easter which lasts 50 days. Easter time is longer than Lent! During this time, we will hear how after his resurrection, Jesus met with his friends and helped them to understand that he had truly risen from the dead. Do not be worried that you do not immediately understand what you are taught. Like these friends of Jesus, we continue learning, so that we will understand better.

During this time, in the shops and on cards, we see many rabbits, chickens and flowers. These do not show Jesus risen from the dead but they represent the beauty of life. Although it is great to eat figolli and Easter eggs, paying attention not to do so excessively, we should not forget that this is not the feast of sweets, treats, and chocolate. It is the feast through which we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.

Today’s activity is an egg hunt. Mummy and daddy have hidden 12 Easter eggs. You are going to look for them. These Easter eggs are numbered from 1 to 12. You will have to find them in the right numerical order. The following are the instructions for today’s activity. You will start seeing the video clip, He is risen. At one point, this video clip will be stopped, and you will go searching for Easter egg number one. When you find it, you will return and continue watching the video, until it is stopped once again, and you will search for Easter egg number two. You will continue in this way, until you find all twelve Easter eggs and you finish watching the video.

Note to parents: before you start this activity, see that you have prepared the Easter eggs. Each Easter egg is to be accompanied by a strip of paper, which has the following written on it (the time at which the video is to be stopped is given in brackets, you do not need to write this on the strip of paper)

  1. Jesus is born (4min)
  2. Jesus shows God’s love through healing (7.22min)
  3. Jesus shows God’s love when he feeds the people and by doing amazing things (8.05min)
  4. Jesus shows God’s love by teaching (10.10min)
  5. Jesus dies to save us (10.45min)
  6. Jesus enters Jerusalem (10.57min)
  7. Jesus washes the apostles’ feet (12.24min)
  8. Jesus prays in the garden (14.13min)
  9. Peter says that he does not know Jesus (16.19min)
  10. Jesus suffers (17.07)
  11. Good Friday (18.27)
  12. Jesus rises from the dead (19.45)

Hide the Easter eggs; you may either glue the strip of paper onto the eggs or else leave them near the eggs. When you start this activity, watch the video up to the first 4 minutes and stop it. The children will go and look for Easter egg number one. When they find it and return, continue watching up to 7.22 minutes. Stop the video once again, and they will search for Easter egg number two. This is repeated until all twelve Easter eggs are found and you finish watching the video.

Sign of the cross.

Thank you, God for this wonderful day, thank you for this great feast of Easter, Jesus has risen from the dead. Thank you for all the figolli, Easter eggs and yummy chocolates. May these remind us to be happy that Jesus has risen from the dead. Thank you for our family and friends. Thank you for your love. We would also like to pray for all those children who will not receive any figolli or Easter eggs. Dear Jesus, please send them people who love them and who will tell them that you love them too.

Jesus has risen from the dead! We are so happy! Let us sing and dance, Jesus is alive.

When God created the world, he wanted everyone to be happy and that everything would be right. However, people started to make wrong choices and the things did not remain as beautiful as God wished them to be. God was displeased yet he continued to love everyone, just the same so he sent his Son, Jesus, to the world, so that he would teach us how to make right choices and how to obey God.  However, there were still people who did not believe Jesus, they did not love him and they crucified him.

The story does not end here! After three days, Jesus rises from the dead! Jesus shows us that he is greater than death, he is much stronger than any negative thing which may ever happen.

  • Jesus rose from the dead
  • Although Jesus’ death was bad and cruel, God changed it into something beautiful through Christ’s resurrection.
  • 12 Easter eggs
  • Children’s Bible
  • Paper
  • pencil

Although Jesus had spoken with the apostles and told them that he would die and rise from the dead, they did not understand him. When they saw him dead on the cross, the apostles were confused, and they were afraid that the soldiers would catch them and kill them too.

After Jesus died, two among his friends put his body in a tomb. In those days, tombs were big holes in rocks, and a huge rock would be put in front of the opening. Mary of Magdala, who was Jesus’ friend, went near the tomb. She expected to see the tomb, covered by a big rock, instead the tomb was open! She ran to tell Jesus’ friends and two of them hurried back with her.

When they saw the empty tomb, they did not immediately understand what had happened. Did something similar ever happen to you? Could it be that you did not understand immediately what the catechists or religion teachers were teaching you about Jesus?

If your answer is yes, there is no need to worry. The same thing happened to the apostles! In the coming weeks, we will hear that after his resurrection, Jesus continued to meet with his friends to show them that he had truly risen from the dead and he also wanted to continue teaching them. He does the same with us too. Jesus wants us to continue learning about him, to that we may understand what he wants to tell us. He wants us to believe that like him, one day, we too will rise from the dead and live with him for ever, in heaven. Nothing is impossible for God! This is what the apostles did. They continued learning, they understood what Jesus was teaching them and then, they taught others. 

Today you are going to have an egg hunt. Mummy and daddy hid 12 Easter Eggs. You are going to look for them. These Easter eggs are numbered, from 1 to 12. You are to find them in numerical order. With each Easter egg you will find written a Bible story from the life of Jesus. When you find the first Easter egg, you will return near mummy and daddy and you will read this passage from the Bible. You will continue in this way, until you find all 12 Easter eggs.

Note to parents: before you start, prepare the Easter eggs. Prepare also 12 strips of paper and on each write the following:

  1. Jesus is born
  2. Jesus shows God’s love through healing – the healing of the ten lepers
  3. Jesus shows God’s love by feeding many people – Jesus feeds the multitudes
  4. Jesus shows God’s love when he does amazing things – the miracle at Cana
  5. Jesus shows God’s love by teaching – the sermon on the mount
  6. Jesus enters Jerusalem
  7. Jesus washes the apostles’ feet 
  8. The Last Supper
  9. Jesus prays in the garden 
  10. Peter betrays Jesus 
  11. The passion of Jesus 
  12. Jesus rises from the dead 

Hide the Easter eggs, together with the strips of paper. You may either glue the paper to the Easter eggs, or else leave them near them. Instead of the children reading from the Bible, you may watch a video clip. If you opt for this, do instead the activity which you find in the section for 4 to 7 years.

Sign of the cross.

We are so happy that Jesus rose from the dead! Thank you, God, for this amazing gift. Thank you for our lives and for your promise, that one day, we too will rise from the dead. Help us to live the way that you wish, so that we love and help others, we respect others and forgive those who hurt us. We pray this, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Jesus has risen from the dead! Hallelujah! We are so happy! Let us sing and dance, Everybody, Everywhere.  

Coming soon.

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.