So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You must say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 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 is still told among the Jews to this day.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Matthew’s Gospel tells us that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, after finding Jesus’ tomb empty, went away quickly– “fearful yet overjoyed”– to tell the disciples this news. On their hasty way Jesus met and greeted them. What must this have been like? Perhaps they had been in Bethany when Jesus called his friend Lazarus to come out of his tomb, and they had seen Lazarus come forth wrapped in his burial gown that others had to undo. This wasn’t the case with Jesus. The two women saw him and recognized him.
Perhaps because they were startled, they threw themselves on the ground before him and touched his human feet. They recognized his human voice telling them not to be afraid. Afraid of what? Probably the feeling that made the hair on their arms stand up and sent shivers down their spines when they unexpectedly found the tomb empty and then met Jesus, risen and alive, on the road. What would your reaction be if you met a flesh and blood person who had been raised from the dead? Well, we have no idea because it has never happened to any on us.
Besides feeling fear, they were also overjoyed. Jesus, whom they knew in his day-to-day life and whom they had seen suffer and die on the cross, was now present with them. Most of us have no problem believing that Jesus, the Christ, is divine. Unlike the two women and the other disciples who knew the human Jesus very well, do we really believe in Jesus’ humanity? Do we believe that Jesus is a risen human? That he chose to be present in our midst as a human being who is also divine should make a huge difference in how we approach the unfolding events in our world today. Jesus is alive and working through today’s unfolding events to bring about his Kingdom.
How can I work with Jesus to accomplish his purpose? Am I aware of his presence in my life today? What gifts is he giving me today to form me into the best person I can be?
—Fr. Jim Riley, S.J., a veteran high school educator, is currently superior of the Jesuit community at St. Ignatius High School, Cleveland OH.
Lord, today many are devastated by anguish of the untimely deaths of loved ones or the angst of not knowing the fate of those they love so dearly: the South Korean Ferry Disaster, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the Sherpa guides who died in the Mount Everest avalanche. We pray that through your divine and human love, each parent, spouse, brother, sister, each family member and friend will one day see their Good Friday be concluded with the Easter promise — eternal joy and the assurance of your presence through every single tear they shed.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!