by Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil
April 24, 2011. Today is Eater Sunday. It's the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The gospel reading is from Mark 16:1-8.
Gospel Reading: (Mark 16:1-8)
1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"
4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
6 "Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you."
8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
Three women (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome) went to the tomb where Jesus was buried to anoint Jesus' dead body to give their Lord the final burial rite. They were expecting a closed tomb and a dead body in it. They had concern over how they might roll away the heavy stone covering the tomb's entrance. But the stone was already rolled away when they had arrived. As they entered the tomb, they saw a man dressed in white as if he were waiting for them and expecting them.
When the women saw him, they were alarmed. The man in white dress began his revelation to the women by speaking the words of comfort. They then realized that he was a messenger from God. He said to them, "Do not be alarmed, Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified has been raised; he is not here. Go and tell his disciples that he is going ahead of you to Galilee, there you will see him, just as he told you."
The women went out and fled from the tomb in amazement and terror, but said nothing to anyone for they were afraid. That was initial the response of these women to the God's messenger and the message. All four gospels mention this fear of doubt and fear to the risen Christ. It required time for the women to deal with their fear and doubt before they were able to go and proclaim the good news of the risen Christ to other disciples. However the women did not remain silent and fearful permanently. If they had, we wouldn't be celebrating the resurrection of Christ today.
One aspect of the resurrection account we notice is that women, not men, are the first messengers of the resurrection. It's surprising that because at that time in history- it was clearly a man's world - only men held positions of authority. God breaks that human tradition by giving the good news of the resurrection to the women first. They became the first preachers of the resurrection.
Resurrection gives hope for the humanity. We may not be perfect and we do fail sometimes miserably at what we do. We may continue to wrestle with our fears and doubts. The good news is that Christ is risen. He is risen to give us a new beginning. He is risen to remind us that goodness is more powerful than evil, love is more powerful than hatred, faith is more powerful than doubt and despair. It is Christ who can open our eyes to this spiritual reality. He can forgive our sinful rebellious attitudes, dissipate our fears and give us confidence in ourselves. That's why Christianity still exists after all these centuries.
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