( A commentary on Matthew 28: 8-15)
Daily Reflection – 4/5/2021
So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Hail!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, `His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed; and this story has been spread among the Jews to this day. (Matthew 28: 8-15)
The mood of Easter is very well captured at the beginning of today’s gospel reading, ‘Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.
Easter is a feast that fills us with great wonder and joy because it tells us that God’s love is stronger than human sin, and the life God gives is more powerful than the death humans often inflict on each other. Easter also tells us that we do not walk through life alone. As the risen Lord went ahead of his disciples to Galilee, so he goes ahead of us to all the places that we journey to and find ourselves in.
Yet, there will always be people who will try to deny Easter and all that it means. That was so from the very first Easter Sunday. But as Thomas Aquinas once wrote, if the Resurrection didn’t happen, then the fact that a bunch of barely literate fishermen and nobodies from Galilee could convince so many down-to-earth people throughout the ancient world falsely that it did and all be willing to lay down their lives for that invented reality would be a greater miracle than the miracle of the Resurrection itself!
And there is still another miracle that awaits you and I. It lies in the answer to the question how would you or I behave today if today were the day of Jesus’ physical resurrection.
Most of our lives would change dramatically if today were the day of the Resurrection. That’s the type of transformation we are supposed to experience because the risen Lord Jesus is still very much alive and seeks to come to meet us every day. Christians should be people who seem always to be coming from encountering the Risen Lord!
The type of response that God wants us to have to Jesus’ resurrection we see in the women today and in St. Peter. Mary Magdalene and Mary the wife of Clopas ran away from the empty tomb both “fearful and overjoyed,” fearful because they had never confronted a reality like that and overjoyed because they sensed that it meant that Jesus had in fact risen.
We are invited to savor the good news of the Easter season which lasts for 50 days. During these weeks we have an opportunity to keep on absorbing the momentous good news of Easter. The news that gives meaning to our living and to our dying because it assures us that we are brothers and sisters of the Risen One who is also the Life Giver for all who seek him.
This belief that we choose to possess means that our lives should radiate Jesus’ risen life. There may be days when this is more challenging — like on the ugliest days of a brutal winter or at the bedside of the interminable sufferings of a loved one — but if we’re ever going to be living signs of Jesus risen then, we have to begin by being risen signs of Jesus on Easter, and Easter Monday, and throughout the Easter Season and beyond. And we need to let that risen joy overflow naturally toward others, just as the women did, just as St. Peter did.
He has risen. He has risen for you and me. He lives in and for you and me. Alleluia.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, may we always live in the joy and hope of the resurrection and never lose sight of its truth for our lives.”
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the source of hope for all Christians. May the Lord strengthen our faith in this central mystery of our faith. May our faith inspire us to a greater love of God and neighbor. Pray that through our deep faith in the Resurrection we may radiate this hope to others who are in despair.