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Monday, April 13, 2020

Reflection 2020-04-13 Monday of the Octave of Easter

Acts 2:14, 22-33; Psalm 16; Matthew 28:8-15
Today is the Monday of the Octave of Easter. An octave is eight days after the feast which we celebrate one event. In a sense, we celebrate the Day by extending it for eight more days. We do this for Christmas and Easter. So we can say, we are still celebrating Easter day today.
The First Reading is taken from Peter’s sermon at Pentecost, his first after Jesus ascended to heaven. He says This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. The Resurrection happened and Peter and the Apostles are witnesses to it. The Resurrection is not a myth as some in the media say. Jesus died and as Peter said, God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. Jesus DIED and was raised from the dead. Many so called Catholic theologians deny the literal resurrection of Jesus. Some say Jesus did not die, but was close to death and was healed while he was in the tomb and that the Apostles then promoted the story he rose from the dead. Some say the appearance of Jesus after the resurrection was the result people wishing to see him rise from the dead which caused the mass hallucination that all of them saw him at the same time. These are myths formulated by false prophets. First of all, they were not eye witnesses, whereas Peter and the Apostles were. Second is it will take more faith to believe Jesus was healed or hundreds of people had mass hallucination of the same thing, than Jesus rose from the dead.
The proof of the Resurrection is in the eye witness account of the Apostles. People may argue this was written by the Apostles as a propaganda of their beliefs. But there are three questions we need to ask if this is a propaganda:
  1. Where is the Body of Jesus? Since the start of Christianity, people had been keeping relics or bones of those who have died. Surely, they would have kept the body of Jesus and prevent it from being burned. Christianity is based on one belief: the Resurrection of Jesus. Produce his body and Christianity falls.
  2. Why would a Twelve men, and those who follow them, be ready to die and suffer for a propaganda? Just look at the many so called activists today, promoting whatever cause. They may cause havoc in the streets, but once confronted, they run away. No one willingly dies for a propaganda. This also answers the issue raised in the Gospel that the disciples came and stole the body, one needs to think if that is even possible. You have guards around the tomb. The disciples ran away because of fear. And do you think they would be crazy enough to confront the soldiers guarding the tomb risking their lives? They were so afraid, they were still hiding a week after the crucifixion.
The Resurrection is a historic event, meaning it did happen in time and space. The Resurrection proves the humanity of Christ, that he died. It also proves his divinity, that he rose again! We cannot call ourselves Christians if we do not believe in the Resurrection.
Since the Resurrection is true, since Jesus rose from the dead, we have hope that God will keep us safe, as the Responsorial Psalm reminds us. We do not deserve heaven. Yet, by dying, Jesus opened heaven for us and by rising from the dead, he gave us power to live the life he wants to give us. This life is one of peace, of power and of victory in Christ.
The Resurrection proves, Jesus is more powerful than death, he has destroyed death. And we know in the midst of all our sufferings today, in the midst of self-isolation, of the virus that kills, of the destruction caused by this virus, they are sufferings we bear and endure because there is hope, that these had been defeated by Christ! This does not mean there will be no death, nor suffering, but it means, the Risen Christ is with us. We have victory over whatever troubles us. There is always hope in the Resurrected Christ, because he has destroyed sin and death.
Lord, here I am. I want to believe you have risen from the dead. Let me experience your Resurrection. Lead me away from this life I have and lead me to the life you planned for me. I reject sin and therefore death. I want the eternal life you have won for me. Come Lord, show me your glory.

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