Jesus rises from the dead in the Resurrection and appears to Mary Magdalene and another woman. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Wisdom from the Holy Spirit so he can live in the startling truth of the Resurrection and by building the Virtue of Hope so he can reject despair and look forward to his own glorified body. 

Liturgy

Easter Vigil – Saturday – Cycle A – Mt 28:1-10

Commentary

After accomplishing His Passion, Jesus’ scourged and crucified body is placed in a cold tomb hewn from stone, the Holy Sepulcher, near the place of the Crucifixion. Following the darkness and earthquakes of Good Friday and the lonely sorrow of the Jewish Sabbath on Saturday, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in the early morning hours of Sunday, establishes a New Sabbath, celebrated each year on Easter Sunday (meaning, “dawn”), the first and greatest of Christian feasts (CCC 1169). 

On Good Friday, urged by the Jewish leadership, Pilate had Jesus’ body sealed in a tomb with a giant stone (perhaps 4-5 ft in diameter, weighting 1-2 tons); the tomb was continuously guarded by Roman soldiers for three days to make sure His disciples didn’t stage a fake resurrection. At dawn on Sunday, Mary Magdalene and another Mary (not the Blessed Virgin Mary) who witnessed Jesus’ anguished death on the Cross and watched Him placed in the tomb, arrive with spices to complete the burial ritual (Mk 16:1). An angel of the Lord, blinding in appearance (“lightening”, “white”; similar to the description of Jesus at the Transfiguration), arrives with a great earthquake and rolls back the enormous stone that seals Jesus’ tomb. The Roman guards, violent men who had been tested in bloody battles, are so paralyzed with fear that they look like dead men.

The Lord’s angel commands the women to not be afraid, confirms that Jesus has risen, instructs the women to view the empty tomb, and commands the women to tell the Apostles He will appear to them in Galilee. As the fearful and joyful women rush back to the Upper Room, they encounter the Risen Christ (Mt 28:9-10). Full of holy awe (fear and divine reverence) the two women fall to the ground, holding His feet and worshiping Him. Like His angel, Jesus commands the women to not be afraid and tell His brethren He will appear to them in Galilee. After the women tell the Apostles, Peter and John rush to the tomb and come to believe that Jesus has risen (Jn 20:1-9).

Be awed by Jesus Christ

St. Matthew recorded his personal eye-witness testimony of the events of Easter in his Gospel. Be awed by Jesus, the Divine Prophet, as His prophecies are perfectly fulfilled in the Passion and Resurrection: He is betrayed by the Jewish leadership; He is crucified by the Romans; He is buried in a tomb; Son of God, He is resurrected on the third day with a Glorified Body.

Live in the startling truth of the Resurrection

Realize: After preparing mankind for millennia, God spectacularly entered human history through the Incarnation and reveals in His Passion and Resurrection that God exists, men have souls, and that God has the Divine Power to resurrect men from physical and spiritual death to eternal joy.

Believe: Reflect upon The Resurrection (CCC 638-658).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Wisdom so You help me to live in the startling reality that You exist and love me, that I am more than an animal, and that my soul can be resurrected from the dead to eternal life. 

Look forward to your glorified body

Realize: Overwhelmed by physical suffering and death, a Catholic man can fall into despair and forget that God has promised to resurrect him with a glorified body. 

Believe: Reflect upon the Resurrection of the Body (CCC 655, 988-1019).

Pray: Jesus, Resurrected Christ, help me build the Virtue of Hope so I reject despair and joyfully remember Your promise to resurrect me from the dead with a glorified body.