Monday, March 28, 2016
Reflection: Matthew 28:8-15
Monday within the Octave of Easter – Matthew 28:8-15
Praise God! Today we have alleluias, flowers, joyful music and a festive celebration as we continue the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Each day this week, we hear different accounts of Jesus’ appearances to his disciples.
Today’s Gospel begins in the middle of the story, verses 8-15. In the first seven verses, Matthew tells us that Mary Magdalene and the “other” Mary had left at daybreak to go to Jesus’ tomb. When they arrived at the tomb, an angel appeared before them. The angel then rolled back the stone from the tomb and sat upon it. The angel then told the women that Jesus was not in the tomb and instructed them to go and tell Jesus’ disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead. The disciples were to go to Galilee and they would find Jesus there. Did these two women wonder if they were having hallucinations? Yet, each of them had seen and heard the same thing. If Jesus truly was alive, they would ask for nothing more.
As the women were going to find the disciples, Jesus appeared before them. He lovingly greeted them. Did they think they were having another hallucination? In their hearts they knew that Jesus was standing before them. They knelt before Jesus, embraced his feet and praised God that Jesus had returned to them. Jesus then told them to go and tell the disciples to go to Galilee. Jesus would be there!
Somehow, the guards heard this fantastic tale. Immediately, they went to the chief priests and told them this story. The chief priests were extremely concerned. If this rumor were to spread, they would have havoc. Thus, the chief priests decided to bribe the soldiers. They gave them a large amount of money to keep silent. They also told them if someone asked what had happened to Jesus’ body, they were to say that they had fallen asleep while they were on duty and while they were sleeping, someone had come and stolen the body of Jesus. The soldiers eagerly complied with their plan. In return, the soldiers were paid off. Despite the best efforts of the chief priests to keep the news of Jesus’ resurrection from being made known, the women’s account of their encounter with Jesus rapidly spread throughout Jerusalem and the world was drastically changed.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could have a personal encounter Jesus during this Eastertide? What a wondrous gift that would be! Who knows? If we have open eyes, minds and hearts today, we also may encounter Jesus!