We are what is called the Octave of Easter. We celebrate Easter for eight days as if it was one. The Gospel reading shows us several people believed in the resurrection. The first was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. They, in fact, saw Jesus and even took hold of his feet. The second are the guards who told the chief priests everything that had happened. These witnessed the earthquake and the stone in front of the tomb being removed. The fact that the priests and the elders had to bribe them with a large sum of money shows the soldiers also believed in the resurrection, and probably saw it. The last group are the priests and elders who believed the news of the soldiers.
We have three groups, all of them believed in the resurrection. Two of these conspired to suppress the news but one group encountered Jesus and went as he commanded them. Seeing the resurrection and hearing and believing the resurrection is not enough. We need to experience the resurrection of Christ, just as Mary Magdalene and the other Mary did. They took hold of the feet of Jesus. They touched him to prove to themselves it is Jesus, because of this, they heard Jesus speak to them.
Peter points out the importance of the Apostles being witnesses of the resurrection. To be a witness, one must have encountered the Risen Jesus. Peter tells us what encountering Jesus means: it is to see Jesus from a new perspective, that he:
- is raised and is seated at the right hand of God. This means he has all authority in heaven and earth.
- has received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the love of the Father and the Son.
- has poured out this that you both see and hear. Since Jesus has received the Holy Spirit, he pours him out to those who see and hear. The work of the Holy Spirit is seen and heard by everyone. While Peter, in this Reading was speaking of the descent of the Holy Spirit, the resurrection of Jesus is the most visible proof of the power of the Holy Spirit.
We live 2000 years after the resurrection, but we can still see and hear the Resurrection of Jesus by doing what Mary Magdalene and the other Mary did: they came to Jesus, took hold of his feet and worshiped him. We need to come to Jesus, approach him in humility and love. Jesus meets us always. He calls us always. But we need to come to him. Without coming close to Jesus, we cannot touch him. We touch Jesus by clinging to him and not letting go of him. And after we cling to him, we worship him.
To cling to Jesus is to allow him to take control of our life. It is to surrender our life and our ideas of him and accept what he reveals of himself to us. And when he reveals himself to us, we worship him. Jesus wants to reveal himself as God, so we need to worship him as God.
Lord, let me encounter you and when I do, give me courage to come to you, to hold you and worship you. Give me wisdom and courage to accept you as you are.