The Hope of His Resurrection

Mark 16: 1-7

Rom 6:3-11 / Psa 118

He has risen . . .

Empty tomb’s no cause for sorrow,

All creation, stop and listen:

Hope and joy will come tomorrow,

When our Lord Jesus has risen!

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Jesus. Very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.’” (Mark 16:1-7)


Today’s Gospel reading anticipates tomorrow’s Resurrection narrative. We all believe that our Lord Jesus rose from the dead on the third day (Easter Sunday), so why is His Resurrection account being related today? Perhaps because no event happened on this day (the Sabbath) in any of the four Gospels, and the Resurrection of Jesus is so significant that it is worth relating twice – first in the Gospel account of St. Mark today, and tomorrow (Easter) in the Gospel account of St. John (Jn.20:1-9).

It is however significant to note in all the Gospel narratives that the disciples of Jesus did not anticipate His rising from the dead as He had predicted to them. This is shown by the fact that the women who followed Him “bought spices so that they might go and anoint (Him).” The angel had to remind them about the promise of Jesus when he told them, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.’ But instead of following the angel’s instructions, the women fled from the tomb, “and did not tell anyone for they were afraid” (Mk.16:8). When Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene and she told His disciples that He was alive and she had seen Him, they did not believe her either (Mk.16:11). Stranger still, we read in the Gospel of Matthew that when the eleven went to Galilee and saw Him, they adored Him, “but they doubted” still! (Mt.28:17). It was only after the Holy Spirit had descended upon the apostles in tongues of fire on Pentecost that they were all finally enlightened. Peter, their head, cited the prophecy of King David about the resurrection of Jesus, his descendant and Messiah (Acts 2:31). So powerful was the manifestation of his faith and boldness of his testimony that 3,000 people were converted and baptized on that very day! (41)

The Resurrection of Jesus signaled the victory of life over death. The sacrament of Baptism is the grace from God given to us through His Resurrection. In today’s first reading, Paul’s letter to the Romans said: “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were indeed buried with Him through baptism unto death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we will certainly also be united with Him in the Resurrection. . . In the same way, you must consider yourselves as dead to sin but living for God in Christ Jesus.” (Rom.6:3-5,11) This is the hope that Christ’s death has given us, as we firmly believe and anticipate today His Resurrection tomorrow.

Thank You, Father God, for giving us the grace to understand the mystery of our Lord’s death and resurrection, making our faith grow stronger to serve You. Amen.

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