Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb,
fearful yet overjoyed,
and ran to announce the news to his disciples.
And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee,
and there they will see me.”
While they were going, some of the guard went into the city
and told the chief priests all that had happened.
The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel;
then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
telling them, “You are to say,
‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’
And if this gets to the ears of the governor,
we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” (Mt 28:8-14)
“Even dead, Jesus is still causing us problems!” I can well imagine some of the chief priests saying that to one another. After all, they saw Him die on the tree. He was crucified. His side was pierced with a lance. His body, certifiably dead, was taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb. He was gone. He was history. He was no more.
Guess again. Jesus rose from the dead, just as He had indicated to so many long before His ordeal. The chief priests had a major problem on their hands.
They could acknowledge the resurrection of the Lord. To do so, however, would be the immediate end of their careers. The people would no longer listen to them. They would leave them (if not kill them) and follow the Lord.
So Option A — acknowledging the resurrection — was out of the question. There must have been another option. Hmmmm. Option B. Total denial. That is the option that they chose for themselves. Denial.
They instructed the guards to tell people that the body of Jesus had been stolen while the guards slept.
What?! The guards could be slain for sleeping on the job. However, the chief priests promised that they would cover for the guards. So, with a promise that they would not lose their jobs or their lives and with money in their pockets, the lie that Jesus’ followers took His body so as to perpetuate the hoax of a so-called resurrection began.
To this day there are many who believe that the more plausible answer to the mystery of the resurrection is that Jesus’ followers merely snatched His body so that they could claim that Jesus rose from the dead. There are many who are not willing to consider the possibility of resurrection.
That is heartbreaking. Sadly, those people do not believe in any life after death. In their eyes, once you die, it is all over. It must be miserable to live without the hope of resurrection. But thanks be to God for giving us the hope of resurrection through Christ, His Son!
FAITH ACTION: Jesus told the women not to be afraid but to go and announce the Good News that He was, indeed, very much alive. On this Monday of the Octave of Easter, find a way to announce the Good News of the resurrection. Discuss the resurrection with your children, your spouse, a fellow parishioner, or someone at work. Do not be afraid to speak about the victory of the Lord over sin and death.