Every year, the major news agencies publish articles giving the world a new twist on the already well established, authentic and amazing drama of Easter. A few years back it was the “twist” that Jesus never really died on the cross and therefore, he appeared before his disciples, still with his wounds, and near the point of death. This, we are told, was really the miracle of the “resurrection.” Then, the following year we were told that Jesus asked Judas to betray him in order to force the fulfillment of the prophecies! I still get a chuckle out of that one. If there is anything in this world you don't have to ask for, it is a friend who betrays you! That's a guarantee! Another, not too long ago, gave us the astonishing news that the Lord’s tomb had been discovered, with bones included. After two thousand years and so many years of Church history, a secular archeologist claimed to have discovered the remains and tomb of the Savior of the World. As quickly as this story appeared it disappeared. Not out of fear for his life, but out of fear for his academic reputation. And of course, it appeared right before Easter.
Just recently, another individual discovered the “nails” that were used to crucify the Lord. I enjoyed a response to that article that used the simple headline: “Nails used to crucify Christ discovered, again!” Whoever discovered them should have gone to the Santa Croce di Gerusalemme in Rome. There, he would have discovered the real nails taken and conserved for centuries by the Lord’s Apostles and their faithful disciples.
So many outsiders would love to dampen our joy! So many people have tried to crush our spirits. But they cannot. This story will not go away. It is the Story of stories. It is the Story of The Lord. Like him, this story will never die.
What is striking is the very first “twist”, the original twist, the one brought by evil men, at the very beginning, that the Lord's body had been stolen. In other words, no one denies the empty tomb. No one, not even the Pharisees or the Scribes deny this fact. The story that circulated among the Jews was that Christ’s body had been stolen. But how could the body have been taken with Roman soldiers and temple guards standing and watching? These men were professionals, not amateurs. They knew well what had been said about him – that he would rise from the dead. If anything, they were ready for everything!
Then we have the story of the eye-witnesses. Who would believe what they had seen? Two women approach the tomb and find it empty. Then they claim they have seen the Lord. They tell the disciples. Who should have believed them? If this is all fake, why start a hard-to-believe story with an even harder to believe story that women were the first to see him. The testimony of women counted for nothing back then! I'm sorry, but if you are going to fake a story then do it well! Please! Start with believable testimony! Start with men, or start with the guards seeing it themselves rather than falling asleep! Oh, and by the way, don’t start with Mary Magdalene! Come on! Do you remember what type of reputation she had? Hardly the one who would be believed! Our story is wrong in so many ways! It would never pass the test in Hollywood!
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce the news to his disciples. There is a hierarchy in the Church. There are men who have authority in the Church. But the Lord trumps love over authority. He searches the hearts. He loves us all, but he loves the meek and humble a little more. Yes, the Lord loves the meek and humble of heart. He loves the ones who do not calculate the dangers; or see the threats that surround him. For this reason, they are the first to receive the Good News because the Lord loves to surprise his most beautiful and faithful children. I wish I could be one too!