It takes the eyes of faith to witness to the Resurrection

On Sunday morning, we find Mary Magdalene and the disciples in a difficult situation. Everything that they have sacrificed, worked for and hoped for over the past several months and years of their lives came crashing down on Friday afternoon. Jesus is dead. He was arrested and crucified by the Romans in collusion with the Jewish authorities.

Apr 16, 2017

By Father Garry Koch
On Sunday morning, we find Mary Magdalene and the disciples in a difficult situation. Everything that they have sacrificed, worked for and hoped for over the past several months and years of their lives came crashing down on Friday afternoon. Jesus is dead. He was arrested and crucified by the Romans in collusion with the Jewish authorities.

They are desperate and afraid. It was one of their numbers, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, and now it appears that he has hanged himself in the turmoil. Peter feels the guilt and pain of having denied Jesus three times, and now he must face the others, although all of them had fled and went into hiding.

Having suffered the trauma of the Death of Jesus just days ago, they live in the fear of the moment and not in the hope of what is to come.

When Mary comes to the tomb only to find the stone rolled away and the body of Jesus gone that he was raised from the dead never crossed her mind. So overcome was she with fear that she did all that she could do to get back to the disciples and inform them of the horrible thing that she discovered. It was bad enough that they executed Jesus on such trumped up charges and right at Passover, did they have to add even further insult by stealing and desecrating his body?                                                              

Peter and the beloved disciple took off for the tomb immediately to investigate the scene themselves. We are unsure, as they must have been, as to what they would do about the situation anyway. Afraid for their own lives, they had remained hidden in the upper room since Jesus was arrested. We know that they will remain there for another 50 days before they emerge under the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

Peter checked out the scene and remained confused, probably even angry. The other disciple entered the tomb and, when he saw the burial cloths on the ground he “saw and believed”. Peter and Mary Magdalene did not yet imagine what had happened. Often in his ministry Jesus instructed them that the Son of Man would suffer much, that he would be killed, but also that he would rise from the dead. Nonetheless, the evangelist notes: “they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.”

Overwhelmed by and enveloped by the distress of the darkness of death in the moment, the disciples did not move to an understanding of resurrection as the present reality. As at times all of us feel overwhelmed by the presence of death and despair around us. It can be easier to wallow in the pain of the moment, to shake our angry fists at the horror and tragedy of suffering and death, than it does to enter into the mystery of eternal life.

The disciples did not experience what they expected when they went to Jerusalem. They were forced to retreat into themselves and hide from the world. Since Jesus had been betrayed by one of them, could they really trust the each other not to do the same to the rest of them? How much fear and suspicion must there have been among the disciples during that Passover weekend? 

The disciples did not experience what they expected when they went to Jesus’s tomb. They saw emptiness and could not imagine that emptiness means fulfillment, completion, eternal life. Jesus’ words, his promise, the mighty acts he performed, did not resonate with them there.

It is painful at times for all of us to move beyond death, despair and hopelessness whether intellectually, emotionally or spiritually. Instead, challenged by the promise of Jesus, we pray to have the full faith and confidence of the beloved disciple who “saw and believed.”--Trenton Monitor

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