Monday of the Octave of Easter
The Resurrection of Jesus: The Report of the Guard
Jerald Jellison said, “Each of us tells a lie at least 50 times a day.” He explained that we lie about our age, our income or our accomplishments. And we use lies to escape embarrassment. A common reason for “little white lies,” we’re told, is to protect someone else’s feelings. Yet in so doing, we are really protecting ourselves. According to him, here are some of our most commonly used lies: “I wasn’t feeling well”; “I didn’t want to hurt your feelings”; “The check is in the mail”; “I was just kidding”; “I was only trying to help.”
Well, the Easter of the Lord’s Resurrection is so important to the Church that the Church is celebrating it for the whole week. We call this as Octave of Easter. “Octave” means a period of 8 days that is, counting from Easter Sunday up to the next Sunday. In fact, every Sunday is like a reminder of Easter. It is because Sunday is the Lord’s Day. It is the day that the Lord rose from the dead.
Today’s gospel speaks to us about the report of the resurrection of Jesus by two different groups: the women group and group of the guards. Let us look at the second part of the gospel passage and this speaks to us of deceit, deception and lying. The guards are bribed by the chief priests to tell a lie about the resurrection of Jesus. They were to promise that if the procurator inquires into the matter, they would invent a story that it was the disciples who stole Jesus’ body while they were asleep. There is a contradictory on what they are going to tell to people and to the official because how could they know that it was the disciples who stole the body of Jesus for they were asleep when it happened? Thus these official representatives of God (the chief priests) are forced to tell a lie and bribed the guards in order to cover their murder of Jesus. And yet, they still see themselves as righteous men.
Lying seems to be a way of life for many of us. We lie at the drop of a hat. The book, The Day American Told the Truth, says that 91 percent of those surveyed lie routinely about matters they consider trivial and 36 percent lie about important matters; 86 percent lie regularly to parents, 75 percent to friends, 73 percent to siblings, and 69 percent to spouses (from Daily Bread, August 28, 1992).
While the first part of the gospel passage is the opposite of this lies and deception. Here we see simple women whose hearts are overjoyed at the news that their beloved Lord is alive again. They are eager to share their joy. These women have followed Jesus from Galilee to the cross, attending to His needs and faithful in being with Him up to His last breath. Their sudden meeting with Jesus is a scene filled with peace and radiant joy.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) in his, Salt of the Earth (p. 27), said: “Faith gives joy. When God is not there, the world becomes desolate and everything becomes boring and everything is completely unsatisfactory. It’s easy to see today how a world empty of God is also increasingly consuming itself, how it has become a wholly joyless world. The great joy comes from the fact that there is this great love and that is the essential message of faith. You are unswervingly loved.”
During this week let us see the different ways that the Risen Christ appears to us. We should seek Christ in our daily life. Perhaps we can find Him in all those persons we meet who are in some kind of need.