April 9, 2023
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. John 20:1–3
Happy Easter! Our Lord has risen, He has overcome death and He has opened the gates of Heaven to all who believe and receive the gift of salvation. Alleluia! What a glorious day we celebrate!
Today’s Gospel concludes by saying, “For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.” This is evident by the initial reaction of Mary of Magdala, Simon Peter and the Apostle John. Mary first thought that someone had taken the body of Jesus and moved it from the tomb. Peter was confused and ran to see for himself. John also went and when he saw the empty tomb, he believed. Eventually, all of the Apostles would come to understand and believe.
The initial reaction to the empty tomb teaches us an important lesson. Though the Resurrection of Christ is clearly known to us today, our knowledge of this glorious event must continually deepen. This is evidenced by the fact that the disciples of Jesus came to understand the Resurrection over time. They did not comprehend His Resurrection when Jesus first taught them about it. They did not fully understand it when they saw the empty tomb. They did not even fully comprehend it when they saw the risen Lord. It was only after they were given the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost that their minds were open to this incredible mystery of faith so that they could begin to penetrate and comprehend this mystery more clearly.
The Resurrection of Christ was a real historical event. But it is also an event that transcends time. It’s an event that must permeate all time and transform every moment of our lives. When Jesus rose from the dead, it was much different than a simple return to life. He did not simply come back to the life He lived before He died. Instead, His resurrected state was a new beginning. He was now different. He was transformed. His body would now never age. It could not die. It could pass through closed doors. This resurrected body of our Lord, which is perfectly united to His divine nature, will remain with Him forever.
The resurrected body of our Lord also made it possible for us to share in His resurrected state. We now have hope that, if we share in His suffering and death, we will also share in His Resurrection. But what does that mean? Saint Thomas Aquinas believed that our resurrected bodies will be glorious beyond imagination. We will never age, require no food, never experience illness, be free from all disorders and will live this way forever. Somehow, through our bodies, we will also be able to share ourselves with others in a pure and holy way, communicating to others the love of God alive within our souls. We will have the gift of agility, being able to move from place to place with immediacy simply by thinking it. Our new glorified bodies will manifest the ways that we loved and served God in this world. For example, Jesus’ resurrected body had wounds in His hands, feet and side. But now those wounds radiate His glory and forever testify to His act of perfect love.
Reflect, today, upon the Resurrection of the Savior of the World. As you do, reflect also upon His invitation to share in this new life. Though much of our understanding of the Resurrection of Jesus, as well as our hope of sharing in this resurrected state, will only be understood when we share in it, it is important to place these ideas in our minds so that we have something to anticipate. At the very least, we must know and understand that our sharing in the resurrected state of Jesus is glorious beyond what we can imagine. This is what we celebrate today. And this celebration must fill us with hopeful anticipation of our participation in this glorious new life to come.
My resurrected Lord, Your sacred body and soul are forever united as one in a new and glorified state. You now invite all of us to share in Your suffering and death in this life so that we can share in Your Resurrection. Please fill my mind with understanding of this gift in order to fill me with hope so that I will work tirelessly for that day on which I hope to share in Your Resurrection. Jesus, I trust in You.
Rosary – Glorious Mysteries (with Scripture)