Witnesses of the Resurrection
Witnesses of the Resurrection (Jn 20/1-9)
What remains hidden in the darkness of the early morning for Mary of Magdala, is revealed to Simon Peter and the beloved disciple. As both Apostles “race” to reach the Tomb, it is already as bright as day, enough light to enable them look inside the dark chamber of the tomb. Here the detail of the Easter drama can be seen in the light of the Gospel, to lead us to one conclusion: the wonderful truth that Jesus is risen from the dead! This thought is still far the disciples minds, although as devout Jews they would understand in retrospect, there are quite a few passages in the Bible which refer to a “resurrection” (cf. Ps 16,1o; but in the Scriptures Hos 6,2; Jona 2,7). It may be true that we understand life retrospectively it can be lived out looking clearly forward. The Gospel admits without hesitation that the disciples did not understand the Holy Scriptures. It is not the Scriptures that convinced the two disciples of the Resurrection of Jesus. Both Peter and John, the beloved disciple, saw, but the Gospel reports that only this the other disciple saw and believed. Seeing does not necessarily mean believing. Seeing coupled with love – that is what lets us understand. Love is the gift through which we recognize the Lord in our families, in our communities, the workplace, in other people.
When parents silent and stunned, leave the clinic where their child just died: When a marriage collapses the sparks fly, and both are wounded, when everything is in shards one remember everything which divides us and separates us from the common; parents are speechless that a child should be seduced or radically transformed; if evil has come into one’s own life; then we turn to that love of the disciples whom Jesus loved. It helps us to know that He loves us infinitely and wants to meet us! Then we are as disciples who love and believe without additional signs! Faith is so important, Jesus emphasizes to Thomas how blessed are those who do not see and yet believe. Three aspects that characterizes the faith of the beloved disciple: faith, trust – and the love in the full devotion to Jesus.
So when it comes to my relationship with God, prayer is important. Only those who pray sincerely restore the relationship with God. What we do as a community in celebration of Holy Mass every Sunday is not enough. It cannot just be our attendance at Holy Mass in which we bear witness to and demonstrate our faith in the Lord. Rather, it concerns our personal relationship with God. He sees into the secret of our hearts. It involves continually offering myself to my great God. I must it actually ‘fit’ Him into my life, in adversity, in the rifts, its beauty, its pleasures, in what I do, in what I like to do or don’t like to do. I have to meet God with people who make up my life – and those people for whom we have responsibility within our communities. Perhaps I have addressed some of the issues in a previous penitential time.
Like with Peter, our growth in faith, trust, and love is slow. At the same time, the stories of the people’s growth of faith are always fascinating. We have learned about many of them during our visits around the world. This is true for human relationships as well as for our relationship with God. Our faith in these relationships and the hope that we put into them is growing in the love. Those seeking the Risen Christ with the eyes of faith, hope and love, will find Him. We understand, with the Resurrection of Christ that we live by His grace as risen. If we consider the central mystery of our faith – the Resurrection – the question could arise, with which of the three witnesses are we most like. There is Mary of Magdala with her love and passion that can wait hardly for the mystery of Jesus. Peter in his passion, aware of his weaknesses, but a hearty leader. He takes time, until he understands the importance of the Easter mystery and finally lays down his life for Jesus. And how about the third witness, whose young heart is gifted with great love – he who saw and believed?
I wish everyone all over the world that we can encounter the Risen Christ and testify of Him. This is the true Easter!
God’s blessings to you!
Msgr. Willibald Steiner, Ecclesiastical Assistant