The Resurrection of Jesus is, without doubt, the greatest feast day of the year. We would do well to enter into this mystery through the experiences of the apostles and the early disciples so that we might enter more fully into the mystery alive and unfolding within us.
The disciples had heard that the Son of Man would rise on the third day, but they had no clue in their heart what that meant.
Notice the first person chosen to witness His Resurrection was Mary Magdalene, out of whom Jesus had cast seven demons. After suffering so much pain, confusion, and sorrow from the oppression of demons, she met Jesus and never again wanted to be separated from Him.
But she was separated. He was crucified, and she was alone again in a different way, because she carried in her memory the transformation her heart experienced from Him. While His crucifixion crushed her, it never dimmed her gratitude for her life-changing experience of coming into a new and
She realized that this new freedom came from God, and she just wanted to explore more deeply the mystery unfolding within her.
She just wanted to be near the body of Jesus who had transformed her life and brought her into a joy and freedom she had never before experienced. For this reason, she got up early and went to the tomb to enter more deeply into what had happened to her through Him.
As she was contemplating what was unfolding within her, she looked up and saw the stone removed.
Someone had her number, the same who has our number.
“So she ran to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, ‘They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put Him.’”
She knew very well the community structure Jesus had established and the reassurances she had experienced in this community over and over again, so she went to the person Jesus had chosen to be their leader. There is more to explore in the relationships Jesus had established before He was crucified. She wanted to enter more fully into what these relationships meant.
Peter and John raced to the tomb, and the beloved disciple arrived at the tomb first… “He bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.” John, because of the great respect Jesus had instilled in his heart for Peter’s role in the community which He was forming, didn’t go in but waited for Peter to go in first. This tells us so much about the sense of an orderly community Jesus had established in the hearts of His disciples.
“When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered His head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that He had to rise from the dead.”
Notice that the Resurrection seems to have unfolded first in the heart of Mary Magdalene, who experienced a profound conversion from evil oppression, and in the heart of the beloved disciple, who seems to have been spared from a deep pattern of sin. Scripture tells us that the beloved disciple went in, “saw and believed.”
Christ rose from the dead for everyone. There is never too much sin to forgive, and there is never too much depravity for Christ to overcome. The only thing that stops Jesus is the refusal of the human heart to receive His mercy.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples at Pentecost, the apostles and disciples began to understand the meaning of Christ’s death and Resurrection. Hence, in the first reading Peter is in the home of Cornelius, a Gentile. The coming of the Holy Spirit upon Cornelius and his Gentile family interrupts Peter’s witness and further shows that the Holy Spirit was meant for all mankind.
What took place in the hearts of Jews and Gentiles alike is taking place in your heart and in my heart today.
The Holy Spirit is anything but stagnant in our lives. We may be stagnant toward the Holy Spirit, but with the slightest movement of our hearts toward the Holy Spirit, He becomes very alive in our hearts, thoughts and behavior.
Sometimes we become locked into behaviors that trap our spiritual growth. Try to remember some hurt that still angers you.
I have good news for you! You are right in being angry at the evil that came your way. That is a good thing! Don’t condemn yourself for being angry. However, simply ask Jesus to come between the evil and that person. Ask Jesus to separate that person from the evil, and you will no longer be angry with yourself for being angry at that person, for the anger is no longer attached to that person. You are free.
This is just one small step for what the Holy Spirit wants to do to renew His presence and His joy in you. “The favors of the Lord are not exhausted. They are renewed every morning. So great is His faithfulness!”