Genesis 1:1—2:2 (shorter form: Genesis 1:1,26–31a)
God creates the heavens and the earth.
Psalm 104:1–2,5–6,10,12–14,24,35 or Psalm 33:4–7,12–13,20–22
A song of praise to God, the Creator
Genesis 22:1–18 (shorter form: Genesis 22:1-2,9a,10–13,15–18)
God puts Abraham to the test.
The Lord shows us the path of life.
The Israelites pass through the Red Sea.
The song of praise that the Israelites sang after crossing the Red Sea
The Lord promises to redeem Israel.
A prayer of thanksgiving for redemption
A call to return to the Lord who is merciful
The Lord sends his Salvation.
Israel is told to follow the way of God’s commandments.
A prayer of praise for God’s commandments
The Lord will cleanse Israel for the sake of his holy name.
Psalms 42:3,5; 53:3–4 or Isaiah 12:2–3,4bcd,5–6 or Psalm 51:12–15,18–19
A prayer of praise for God who saves us
Those who have been baptized have died with Christ.
God’s mercy endures forever.
Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, who carry the message that Jesus has risen and will meet his disciples in Galilee.
Background on the Gospel Reading
All four Gospels have an account of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. Although the accounts differ depending on the point each Evangelist wishes to make, two points of the Resurrection testimony are common to all four Gospels: 1) The tomb of Jesus was found empty and 2) The risen Christ appeared to certain persons. Matthew tells us that, as Mary Magdalene and the other Mary approached the tomb, there was a great earthquake, and “an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.” The guards stationed at the tomb were terrified and “became like dead men.” The angel then assured the women that Jesus “has been raised just as he said.” The women, “fearful yet overjoyed,” left the tomb as the angel instructed to tell the disciples. On their way, Jesus met and greeted the women who “embraced his feet and did him homage.” Jesus himself then sends the women to “tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
The mention of a great earthquake is peculiar to Matthew’s account of the Resurrection. Metaphorically, it indicates the coming of a new and final age brought about through the life, teaching, ministry, and particularly through the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. Notable also is the fact that Jesus’ first appearance is to women, the women who came to minister to him. Finally, not to be overlooked, is Jesus’ use of the word “brothers” to refer to his disciples. It seems to be indicative of a new and different relationship that Jesus has with them. The disciples are now entrusted with the message and mission of the risen Jesus Christ.