Saturday of Easter Octave
When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that the was alive and has been seen by her, they did not believe.
We have seen Him. Yeh, right! The Eleven didn't believe any of it. Not from the two disciples, who were on the road to Emmaus, or from Mary Magdalene, who may have had a few more demons left inside of her.
They didn’t believe because they didn’t allow themselves to believe. It was all too good to be true.
But what exactly was “too good to be true?” Isn't life too good to be true? Was it His words that were too good to be true? [“Love your enemies”, “Do good to those who harm you”, “Forgive others and you shall be forgiven.”] Or His promises? [“I will be with you till the end of time.”] His resurrection? Was it all of the above?
It was the resurrection, dummy! Yes, but had they not seen something like that before? Didn’t they witness their Master raising a young girl named Tabitha from the dead? Had they so soon forgotten about Lazarus? Did they not remember when the Lord raised a poor widow’s son as well? I don’t know. But what I am sure they never forgot was how the Lord had suffered and died.
We all know that the evil that falls upon us is never forgotten; and not only is it never forgotten, it seems to displace or remove all the good we ever experienced.
The Lord’s crucifixion was an event that would be forever burned into their memories. He had not only died, but had died in the most brutal and horrific way. So how could any God, let alone a “Loving God”, allow such a thing to happen, and happen to His only beloved Son?
Experience the Joy of the Cross and allow yourself to be surprised. What the Apostles truly found hard to believe was that suffering could be redemptive; that is, suffering, for what was right, good and holy, could actually be rewarding, uplifting and beautiful. That it could be a cause for conversion and something very appealing to others.
The way that Christ suffered, for our sake and for the truth, is an important aspect of His life and mission. “Worthy suffering” is redemptive. It heals the heart, mind and body. It allows us to see the face of God and experience His justice, mercy and love. It is surprising in all it affects.
Pope Benedict XVI once wrote: “Taking up the Cross is looking evil in the face and being ready to fight its effects and especially its causes, even its primary cause which is Satan… It means not off-loading the problem of evil on others, or on to God but rather recognizing one’s own responsibility and assuming it with awareness… In this regard Jesus’ invitation to each of us Christians to take up our “cross” and follow him with humility and trust is particularly pressing…Although the cross may be heavy it is not synonymous with misfortune, with disgrace, to be avoided on all accounts; rather it is an opportunity to follow Christ and thereby to acquire strength in the fight against evil and sin.”
It wasn’t “too good to be true.” It was too hard to understand!
So the Lord told them what they needed to do to better understand: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” Experience what I experienced.
There is only one way to increase one’s faith and experience God’s Truth: You have to take a leap of faith. That’s the only way. And that is exactly what the Eleven did: they went out and preached the Good News. They went from being ordinary uneducated men, paralyzed with fear, to being bold and confident in Christ Jesus.
Resolution: I will take a leap of faith starting today. I will speak and do as the Lord would say and do. I will wait and see what happens next. [You know exactly what this means: Crucifixion, then Resurrection.]