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Proclaim the Gospel
Saturday in the Octave of Easter
When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. After this he appeared in another form to two of them walking along on their way to the country. They returned and told the others; but they did not believe them either. But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised. He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
Opening Prayer: Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in your word. May the truth of your life, death, and Resurrection permeate my identity. May I be rooted in your truth and proclaim your Gospel to every creature in all that I say and do.
- Excitement and Urgency: After reading portions of Easter accounts from John, Matthew, and Luke this week, today we hear Mark’s account. It is interesting to compare each of the Gospel writers’ accounts of this story and compare their writing styles, the details they choose to highlight, and the way that each of them proclaims the Resurrection of the Lord. Mark’s account encapsulates the other Gospels’ Resurrection accounts. In a single paragraph, Mark concisely tells how Jesus revealed himself to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18) and how the disciples did not believe her testimony (Luke 24:11). He gives a two-sentence account of the appearance of Christ on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). Finally, we hear how Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room (Luke 24:36-49) and sent them into the world with their mission to baptize and proclaim the Gospel (Matthew 28:19-20). Mark moves quickly through these events, bringing a sense of excitement and urgency to the Gospel. Do you feel a sense of excitement and urgency when you encounter the Gospel and our shared call to proclaim it to the world?
- Christ Our Light: One thing in common with all the Gospel accounts is that Mary Magdalene went to the tomb just before dawn. The darkness had been dispelled, and the light of life had risen (John 8:12). Jesus, the radiant dawn, “comes forth like a bridegroom from his canopy, and like a hero joyfully runs its course. From one end of the heavens it comes forth; its course runs through to the other; nothing escapes its heat” (Psalm 19:5-7). During Advent, we pray for the light of Christ to come to us. Now at Easter, we celebrate his glorious light that has been fully revealed. He is the glorified Christ, victorious over sin and death. John proclaimed at the beginning of his Gospel that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). At Easter, Jesus crushed the darkness of death, once for all. This is surely good news worth proclaiming.
- Christ Our Hope: Also in common in all four Gospels is the account of the Resurrection. “The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ” (CCC 638). Christ’s mission on earth began in the manger at Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph cared for him until the time of fulfillment was at hand (cf. Mark 1:15). He taught and healed the people until his hour–the hour of our salvation–had come (cf. John 17:1). He suffered, died, was buried, and descended into hell. He defeated death when he rose again on the third day and ascended to sit at the right hand of God the Father (Nicene Creed). He did all this for us, so that we could have a share of his Resurrection. He did this so we too could rise again, not by our own power, but by and through Christ: “He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself” (Philippians 3:21). In the Eucharist, we are given a foretaste of the Resurrection of our bodies when the glorified, heavenly Body and Blood of Christ are united with our earthly bodies and we become holy temples for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (cf.1 Corinthians 6:19). St. Irenaeus wrote, “Just as bread that comes from the earth, after God’s blessing has been invoked upon it, is no longer ordinary bread, but Eucharist, formed of two things, the one earthly and the other heavenly: so too our bodies, which partake of the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, but possess the hope of resurrection.” Christ, our hope, has truly risen! May we confess this truth to every creature, as God commanded.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, I truly believe that you came to accomplish this unimaginable truth for all of mankind. You came to teach and heal and to be an example of virtue for us to imitate. Better yet, you came to set us free from sin and death, and you were victorious. Help me to live from this deep truth. Bless me with the confidence I need to fully embrace and live out this truth and proclaim it to all that I encounter. May my life reflect your self-giving love to all.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will share your good news with someone in a genuine, joyful way.
For Further Reflection: Read this article on the Resurrection from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “He Descended Into Hell. On The Third Day He Rose Again.”
Written by Carey Boyzuck.
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