Our Witness to the Resurrection
April 15th Readings Reflection: Saturday in the Octave of Easter
In today’s Gospel, we see the disciples struggling to believe in Christ’s Resurrection. The first time is when St. Mary Magdalene returned from seeing the risen Jesus near the Holy Sepulchre on Easter Sunday. Faithful to Christ’s command, she returned and told the Apostles that Jesus had risen and that she had seen Him, but they did not believe her.
The second time is when the two disciples returned from seeing Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Jesus taught them how He had fulfilled all the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament and then revealed Himself to them in the breaking of bread. The two disciples returned to Jerusalem and told the other disciples there, who did not believe their story either. These other disciples were not the Eleven faithful Apostles, as the Fathers of the Church carefully pointed out, for St. Luke’s Gospel tells us that Jesus had already appeared to Simon Peter by this point (see Lk 24:34). These disciples were the ordinary men and women who followed Jesus during His life on earth and who were still “mourning and weeping” over His Death despite reports of His Resurrection.
This makes today’s Gospel very personal for each of us since the Church recognizes that each Christian is a disciple of Christ. Jesus rebuked the Apostles “for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw [H]im after [H]e had been raised.” We deserve the same rebuke for our own unbelief since we have “so great a cloud of witnesses over our head” (Heb 12:1 DRB).
According to a recent study, as many as 20% of Americans do not believe in Jesus’ Resurrection and 14% “are not sure” (Lifeway Research). This is far too high of a number. Jesus’ command at the end of today’s Gospel thus shows its perennial importance: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” Even in our own neighbourhoods, we must spread the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus’ Resurrection. This doesn’t mean that we have to go door-to-door preaching but rather that we must live our lives “worthy of the [G]ospel of Christ” (Phil 1:27). St. Thomas Aquinas explained that charity toward our neighbour is at the center of such a life. As the famous saying goes, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” May our lives reflect the love and joy of the risen Christ this Easter season so that we may lead souls to Him through our example of faith and charity.
Thank you for this reflection today. It really gave me a lot to ponder on. I am so thankful that my relationship with Christ is growing everyday, and thankful through my faith and reason that I know the resurrection is real.
Thank you, Chantal, encouraging and thought provoking as usual.