Posted by: fvbcdm | April 21, 2014

Easter Monday (21 April 2014)

When you put together the four accounts of the resurrection of Jesus as given to us in the gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John, what do you get? You get a rather confused reminiscence of the greatest event in world history. Is that surprising? Not at all! Whenever a group of people witness an event and then are asked to describe what happened, the same thing occurs. One noticed one thing; another something else. And each sees things from his and her own point of view.

The fact that they don’t all agree about the details about Jesus’s return to life proves that there was no collusion there, no false attempt to “get their story straight.” But about the main subject of their witness, there is total agreement: namely, that after having died on the cross and lain in the tomb for about 40 hours, Jesus rose from the tomb and is living with a new life that will never end.

At the Easter Vigil and on Easter Sunday, we celebrated that Resurrection of Our Lord from death. And all this week, we will continue to celebrate it, for each day of this octave is a solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord. We cannot possibly do justice to this great festival in just one day, so the Church extends the celebration through a whole octave, and then to a less intense degree, through a whole season.

The confusion in the four gospels is a happy welter of an usual occurrence, excitement, doubt, then joy, and tremendous peace and happiness over the new life by which Jesus returns to those who love him. It involves Saint Mary Magdalene and one or two others of the holy women who were at the foot of Jesus’s cross on Calvary. It involves Saints Peter and John, then two disciples on the way to Emmaus that afternoon, and then ten of the twelve apostles in the upper room that night, Judas having committed suicide, and Thomas being absent for some unexplained reason.

Notice: it does not involve Our Blessed Mother. I have no doubt that our Risen Savior appeared to her first, to bring her the joy of seeing him in his risen glory and to erase from her immediate memory the horror of Calvary. But there were evidently no witnesses to that exquisite moment when the risen Lord came to bring the joy of his Easter to his immaculate mother, so we are not told of it in the gospels. Since her immense grief had certainly been a part of his sufferings during his passion, so now Jesus delights in the joy that he can bring to her by his return to a new and glorified life.

For us, celebrating Jesus’s resurrection some 2000 years after it happened, there cannot be the same terrific thrill which those who loved him felt at that time. Nonetheless, we can and should experience a deep joy made possible by our liturgy each year as we live through the season of Lent, the sorrow of Holy Thursday and Good Friday, the dead silence of Holy Saturday, and now the brilliance of Easter. I wish each of you a very joyous Easter and an increase in your faith in Christ, risen from the dead. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago

 

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