Monday, April 5, 2010

Believe, share, and rejoice (Monday in the Octave of Easter, Matt. 28:8-15)

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly
from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed,
and ran to announce the news to his disciples.
And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee,
and there they will see me.”
While they were going, some of the guard went into the city
and told the chief priests all that had happened.
The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel;
then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
telling them, “You are to say,
‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’
And if this gets to the ears of the governor,
we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”
The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed.
And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.


* * * * * * *

As we read this story of the first two people in the world to be confronted with the fact of the empty tomb and the Risen Christ, three imperatives seem to spring out of it.

First, they are urged to believe. The thing is so staggering that it might seem beyond belief, too good to be true. The angel reminds them of the promise of Jesus, and confronts them with the empty tomb; his every word is a summons to believe. It is still a fact that there are many who feel that the promises of Christ are too good to be true. That hesitation can be dispelled only by taking him as his word.

Second, they are urged to share. When they themselves have discovered the fact of the Risen Christ, their first duty is to proclaim it to and to share it with others. "Go, tell!" is the first command which comes to the man who has himself discovered the wonder of Jesus Christ.

Finally, they are urged to rejoice. The word with which the Risen Christ meets them is “Chairete”; that is the normal word of greeting; but its literal meaning is "Rejoice!" One who has met the Risen Lord must live for ever in the joy of his presence from which nothing can part him anymore.



"The Kingdom of Heaven is a condition of the heart." (Friedrich Nietzsche)