Acts of the Apostles 10:34a, 37-43
Peter proceeded to speak and said: “You know what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.
Brothers and sisters: If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. The word of the Lord.
Gospel Cycle Cycle C
On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.
Only if we have doubted deeply can we be amazed incredibly that Jesus rises from the dead. We have just come through this Holy Week and walked with Jesus and His followers to His death. We began on Palm Sunday, listening to Jesus entering into Jerusalem. The crowds believed in Him and were so excited. Yet we know now that they still were hoping for someone who would make earth a heaven, rather that lead us into the deepest spiritual truths.
We heard the Passion Narrative proclaimed on Palm Sunday and we heard the change of the crowd as Jesus is taken into custody, judged and condemned to death. Not everyone left then, but lots did. We can wonder if we would have left him?
Some of His followers stayed on. Of this group, some seem to have thought that He would finally triumph and so were totally disillusioned when He actually died on the Cross.
At the end, there is only Mary, His mother, and John His disciple, and a small group. Even when the women go to the tomb, they are not sure what is happening.
It is always a wonder that Mary Magdalene is the first to believe in the Resurrection. Her love for Jesus is so wonderful. She is called in some theology “Equal to the Apostles.”
Finally some of the followers of Jesus begin to believe: He did rise! They can’t believe it and yet they do believe it.
Each of us needs to pass through these stages of faith in some way in our lives. We should never fear our doubts. But we should never simply stay in doubt. We are invited to choose Jesus over and over again. We are invited to meditate on the Resurrection.
Those of us who take Jesus seriously are invited to keep growing in that faith. The only way that we can grow is to study the texts and to listen to the witness of our ancestors in the faith and to listen deeply to the deep human desires for the divine. Always it is a choice and yet there comes a time when the choice to believe becomes secure and we begin to allow that divine reality to transform our lives. Some people do this at an early age while many of us wait until we are older.
Today, this day of Christ’s Resurrection, we are invited to look at the death that surrounds us in our world. It is everywhere. We are invited to look at our broken humanity. And in the very heart of that darkness, we are called to shout: Alleluia!! He is risen! The meaning of the world is love and not destruction. Let us give thanks to the Lord! This is the day the Lord has made. Alleluia!