Resurrection Monday - LIFE OF CHRIST, by Fulton Sheen

Resurrection Monday - LIFE OF CHRIST, by Fulton Sheen



RESURRECTION MONDAY – Monday April 17, 2017

 

“The first scene was that of a weeping Magdalen who came to the grave early in the morning with spices, not to greet the Risen Savior, but to anoint His dead Body.

 

In the dim dawn of Sunday morning several women were seen approaching the tomb. The very fact that the women brought spices proved that they did not expect a Resurrection. It seemed strange that such should have been the case after the many references by Our Lord to His death and His Resurrection. But evidently the disciples as well as the women, whenever He predicted His Passion, seemed to remember more His death than His Resurrection. It never occurred to them as a possible thing; it was foreign to their thoughts. When the stone was rolled to the door of the sepulcher, not only was Christ buried but also all of their hopes.

 

The only thought the women had was to anoint the body of the dead Christ – an act that was born of despairing and as yet unbelieving love. Two of them, at least, had witnessed the burial; hence their great concern was the practical act: “Who is to roll the stone away for us from the door of the tomb?” (Mark 16:3) It was the cry of hearts of little faith… The Resurrection was something they never expected. Their minds were not made up of the kind of material on which such expectations could grow.

 

But as they approached, they found the stone rolled back. Before their arrival, there had been a great earthquake, and an angel of the Lord, who descended from heaven, rolled back the stone and sat upon it: “His face shone like lightning, and his garments were white as snow; so that the guards trembled for fear of him and were like dead men.” (Matthew 28:4)

 

When the women came near they saw that the stone, great as it was, had been rolled away already. But they did not immediately jump to the conclusion that His Body had risen. Their conclusion could be that someone had removed the body. Instead of the dead Body of their Master, they saw an angel, whose countenance was as lightning and his raiment as snow and who said to them: “No need to be dismayed; you have come to look for Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified; He has risen again; He is not here. Here is the place where they laid Him. Go and tell Peter and the rest of His disciples that He is going before you into Galilee. There you shall have sight of Him as He promised you.” (Mark 16:6-7)

 

The angel’s words: “Here is the place where they laid Him”, confirmed the reality of His death and fulfilment of the ancient prophecies. Tombstones bear the inscription: “Here lies.” Then follows the name of the dead and perhaps some praise of the one departed. But here in contrast, the angel did not write, but expressed a different epitaph: “He is not here.” The angel called on the women to behold the place where their Lord’s Body had been laid, as though the vacant tomb was evidence enough of the fact of the Resurrection. They were directed to hasten immediately and give intelligence of the Resurrection.

 

Those who saw the empty grave were bidden to go to Peter who had tempted Our Blessed Lord once from the Cross and had three times denied Him. Sin and denial could not choke Divine love… The glad news of Redemption was thus given to a woman who had fallen and to an Apostle who had denied; but both of whom had repented.

 

Mary Magdalen, who had in the darkness moved ahead of her companions, noticed that the stone had already been rolled to one side, while the entrance stood wide open. A quick glance revealed that the grave was empty. Her first thought was of the Apostles, Peter and John, to whom she ran in excitement. According to Mosaic Law a woman was ineligible to bear witness. But Mary did not bring them tidings of the Resurrection; she was not expecting it. She assumed that He was still under the power of death, as she told Peter and John: “They have carried the Lord away from the tomb and we cannot tell where they have laid Him.” (John 20:2)

 

In their excitement both Peter and John ran to the sepulcher, thus leaving Mary far behind. John was the better runner of the two, and arrived there first. When Peter arrived, they both went into the sepulcher, where they saw linen cloths lying about, as well as the veil they had put on the head of Jesus; but this was not wit the linen cloths; but was wrapped up by itself. What had taken place was done decently and in order, not by a thief nor even a friend. The Body was gone from the tomb; the original bindings around His Body were found in their convolutions. If the disciples had stolen the Body, they would not in their haste have unwrapped it and left the linen cloths. Christ had risen out of them by His Divine power. Peter and John “had not yet mastered what was written of Him, that He was to rise from the dead.” (John 20:9) They had the facts and the evidence of the Resurrection; but they did not yet understand its full meaning.”

 

(Chapter 54, pgs. 851 – 857)

 

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