Grace to you!
The Gospel of Mark gives yet further details of the Resurrection arranged, in a very summarized, condensed but chronological form typical of the Greek style of Mark. At least 12 proofs were presented in one chapter (Mark 16). They include the evidence of the women at the tomb, the rolled stone, the Angel's conversation, and the missing body of Jesus. Also are Jesus' visit to Peter, the fear of the women who reported to Peter what they saw, and the consistent doubt of the disciples. Also are the appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene, Jesus' appearance to the two disciples out in the country (Emmaus), and the Great Commissioning of the disciples as the central mandate of the Resurrection.
Imagine being one of the disciples or apostles of Jesus, such as Peter or John, the beloved. During the arrest and crucifixion, you ran away, maybe lest you be arrested or killed like Jesus.
Three days after, you hear rumors the crucified Jesus is resurrected and is alive. Some women you know pretty well reported they saw him. He spoke to them and would like to see you and others with you in Galilee. How would you feel? Guilt-stricken? What will be your disposition in anticipation of this meeting?
I bet guilt, shame of betraying a friend, or letting him down, may fill your heart. It would be likely as many of us feel terrible when we let down a loved one.
Stories of the Lord’s Resurrection and appearances leave us with a lot to ponder. We can't glean enough of the lessons.
For instance, isn’t it fascinating the first witnesses of the Resurrection were the last people to leave the foot of the cross after the crucifixion? They were the three Marys who followed Jesus to the end at the cross and hurried to see and anoint his body right after the Passover, on the third day. They were the bold.
From their example, I learn this. The Lord visits those who love God to the end despite the thorns and thistles they face in life. The Risen Lord visits the heart journeying through the route of pain and the cross. Scripture says, "If we died with the Lord, we shall live with the Lord" (2 Tim 2:11).
There is something to say regarding the guilt-stricken and doubting disciples. For them, guilt and shame may have enveloped the excitement, which should have ushered in the news of the Resurrection. Many of the disciples of Jesus had let him down; at least it seemed so in their eyes. Ironically, Jesus is about to lift them—gradually, not in a shocking way. So their weak nature will mature in the understanding of the mercy of God.
Observe that Jesus took many initiatives to disabuse their minds and restore their confidence. Recall, one of the beauties of the Christian faith is that it's God who searches for us. In Jesus' own words, "You did not choose me. I chose you. And appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruits that will endure" (Jn 15:16).
Hence, Jesus' appearances began with the bold, the women. Then to the guilt-stricken Peter—the head of the apostles, and the eleven. By the time the news reached from the women, a better disposition, perhaps, could have been achieved. I may be wrong, but I feel there must have been a reason why the bold women saw the Risen Lord first.
Do you feel like the disciples who let Jesus down, who let your loved one down, and are afraid the truth will finally be known? Is guilt tormenting you? Is it difficult to hold your shoulders high and your face up to look at the holy face of the Risen Lord because of sin or guilt?
Allow your guilt and consequent doubt to be confronted by the Risen Lord. Then, you will see that though you let him down, he will lift you, up to healing and grace.
Praying for the grace of a courageous makeover—conversion. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Easter Octave Saturday: Acts 4:13-21; Mk 16:9-15]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu Ph.D., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.