READ: MATTHEW 28:1-10
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow. The guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men. Then the angel said to the women in reply, "Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.' Behold, I have told you." Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this 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."
He is Risen! Alleluia! Our Lenten journey has come to an end and we now bask in the victory of Christ! How we hope that this daily prayer has been beneficial for you and led you closer to the heart of Jesus. (We've loved writing these posts so much that we are going to continue for the next 8 days aka the Easter Octave. More on that tomorrow!)
We all struggle at times to keep promises that we make to other people. Sometimes our schedules get in the way of us accomplishing that which we promised to do. Sometimes it’s our laziness or our forgetfulness. Other times it is because of some incompetence or inability in us that we are unable to do what we promised.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus speaks to the disciples, and even to those who are trying to kill Him, about His resurrection. It is a promise He makes to them, that in three days He would rise. This was the boldest promise He could make to them, the most audacious claim that anyone could ever make. And yet today we see that He does just that. The angel speaks these words to the women, “He has risen from the dead, just as He said.”
If He kept the promise to rise from the dead, can we not count on the other things He promised us? He promises us that He will hear us when we pray, and that “everyone who asks, receives, and the one who seeks, finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:8). Though we try to find it in so many different ways, Jesus promises that He will give us “life and life in abundance” (John 10:10). When we feel like the sacrifices that we have to make in order to follow Him are too great, Jesus promises us that we will receive a hundred times more in this present age and in the age to come (Mark 10:29-30). In our lives, so full of busyness, chaos, inconveniences, and conflict, Jesus promises us what we all desperately want—“peace, not as the world gives” (John 14:27), but “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). Jesus tells us that, even in the midst of a scary, violent world, even in the midst of situations that seem like nothing good can come from them, that we should “take courage, for [He] has conquered the world” (John 16:33).
And lastly, and most importantly, He promises that He is our hope. That He will raise us. That our lives have meaning and a decisive direction because of His death and Resurrection. This is not the end, friends. Whatever current struggles we are facing, this is not the end. Whatever temporal things seek to distract us, remember that this is not the end. We were made for eternal life, the life that Jesus made possible for us because of the feast we celebrate today. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am, you also may be”…for all eternity, if we would but say yes to Him today. If we would but seek His grace, prioritize a relationship with Him, receive Him in the Sacraments, remain in Him. "Whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die" (John 11:24-25).
“The one who calls you is faithful and He will also accomplish” (1 Thessalonians 5:24) all that He has promised. Today we are reminded that Jesus really is who He says He is, and He really does what He promises to do. Why is this important? Because this reality reminds us that the Resurrected Lord, the one who has kept and will keep every promise without fail, can and should be the one we entrust our lives to. There is no thing, no person, no gain that can bring us the hope, the assurance, the freedom, the life, the love that He promises and provides.
So how do we respond on this Easter Sunday? In his Easter Vigil homily in 2013, Pope Francis spoke these words, words that guide us in making a response to Jesus this Easter: “Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: He is life! If up till now you have kept Him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk: you won't be disappointed. If following him seems difficult, don't be afraid, trust Him, be confident that He is close to you, He is with you and He will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as He would have you do." Let us all, with great confidence, entrust our lives to our Resurrected Lord.
Why do you struggle to trust Jesus?
How does the victory we celebrate today give you confidence, give you hope?
Which promise that the Lord made do you need to believe the most?
How will you respond to Jesus, your Resurrected Lord?
R. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. Let the house of Israel say, "His mercy endures forever." "The right hand of the LORD has struck with power; the right hand of the LORD is exalted. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD." The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. By the LORD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes. R. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
How will you place your trust in the Resurrected Lord today?
"Jesus rises from the grave. Life is stronger than death. Good is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Truth is stronger than lies. The darkness of the previous days is driven away the moment Jesus rises from the grave and himself becomes God’s pure light. But this applies not only to him…He draws all of us after him into the new light of the resurrection and he conquers all darkness."
-Pope Benedict XVI
Some Easter jams for you today: