The Choice to Believe

Easter Monday

Matthew 28: 8-15
Acts 2: 14, 22-33 / Psa 16

You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him while we were asleep.’
(Matthew 28:13)

May the Holy Spirit’s power
Recharge you again this Easter;
May He make your mission richer
With His love that lasts forever.

So they departed 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. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You are to say, `His disciples came by night and stole Him while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed; and this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day. (Matthew 28: 8-15)

Reflection

The chief priests and elders of the Jews had always proudly asserted their fidelity to the laws of Moses to justify their rejection of Jesus as the Son of God. But Moses himself accused their ancestors of the same stubbornness and lack of faith when he said, “With your own eyes you saw those miraculous signs and great wonders. But to this day the LORD has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear. During the forty years that I led you through the desert, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet” (Deut. 29:2-5). If they could not believe the divinity of Jesus after witnessing His many miracles, how could they now believe that He had resurrected from the dead if they had not witnessed it themselves? This was a self-condemnation on the part of the elders and chief priests, because they refused to believe even if the soldiers guarding the tomb gave witness to the risen Christ. And this unbelief has been the tragedy of the Jews from the time of Moses up to the present day.

A firm belief in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is perhaps the most vital cornerstone of a Christian’s faith. It is what gives hope, substance and life to our witnessing, and where we draw strength and courage in our mission to proclaim the Good News. We see this power in the boldness of St. Peter, who proclaimed (1st Reading), “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man commended to you by God with miracles, wonders and signs, which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:22-24).

This is the Good News that we in the renewal are also mandated to proclaim to the marketplaces of our businesses and professions: Jesus Christ has risen, and neither death nor sin has any power over Him, and we who believe and follow Him are called to share in His victory and glory. The whole Christian world celebrates Easter as the season of new life, but how many of us give witness to this renewal in our lives? How many of us truly believe that we will also be resurrected in the last days? Acceptance of this doctrine is central to our faith. May it be a guiding principle in our daily life.

Lord, our hearts are glad and our souls rejoice, our minds rest secure, because You have made known through the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ the path of life that we will take in the last days when we share in His glory. Amen.

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