Surrexit Dominus vere! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!
Carissimi, beloved in Christ
In today’s Gospel we read of the arrival at the tomb of Mary Magdalene and the other women. Yes, they were the first witnesses of the resurrection of the Christ from the dead. Yes, it was they who conveyed the message of the risen Christ to the apostles, to meet Him in Galilee… But notice why they were the first there and thus the first to be honoured by the angel and by Christ Himself…
They had gone to the tomb to perform a solemn duty, to fulfil an obligation, a task, a corporal work of mercy, an act of charity – they had gone to honour His body with respectful care… motivated by love of Him… they had gone to perform a religious rite (to anoint the deceased body)… an act of compassionate adoration (because they cared for Him)… effectively… they went to worship Him.
Their first thought was not for themselves… not for the rebuke of the soldiers, not for the indignation of the religious leaders, not for the ignominy of being associated with Him – Who had been executed for blasphemy and died a criminal’s death… Their only consideration was to honour Him Who had been their Master and teacher, Who had taught them He was their friend, their brother, Who had made them cooperators with Him of the presence of God’s kingdom… Out of love for Him, their Saviour, Who had forgiven them much, that they might know their Father in heaven and eternal life, they returned manifesting to Him their great love in gratitude for all He had done for them…
Motivated by love of Him – not fear – these women fulfilled the first commandment, “to love God”. All their concern and motivation was of Him, though they thought Him dead, Who had been accused of blasphemy and not denied it, but asserted the veracity of the unwitting confession of His detractors – they themselves had confessed Him to be what His teachings, actions and miracles had betrayed! These women, though cognisant of the possible danger that had sent and kept the apostles in hiding, could not themselves be prevented from expressing their love for Him.
What then of us? Yes, no doubt today we will be exhorted to be like these women “apostles of the Resurrection”, to proclaim the Good News and bear witness to the Risen Christ in our lives. But to be true witnesses and bearers of the Resurrection life to others, we must first become like these fearless adorers of the love of God made incarnate and manifest in Christ. Like them we must become demonstratively grateful, realising and knowing for ourselves the reality of God’s love for us, making true in our everyday lives that adoration we give to Him when we kiss Christ’s feet on Good Friday.
I know that Coronavirus has greatly disrupted your lives and that this holy season of Passiontide has been a sore trial without the comfort of being able to worship in our churches and chapels and of the sacraments. But I truly believe this “time out” has been given us to prepare – whether for a great revival in the Faith or for an even greater trial. Whatever the future may hold, one thing is certain; we, the body of Christ, have been presented with a golden opportunity to demonstrate our love for Him. Let us love Him much, Who loves us greater still; let us die and be reborn in Him, that we might show His love in our lives for the salvation of ourselves and others – whatever the future holds.
With my fervent prayers for you all and warmest Paschal greetings, may God bless you all greatly that your love for Him increase by your faith, with hope and united in the supreme and perfect love of Jesus, Our Lord.
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