”The more a person loves God, the more reason he has to hope in Him. This hope produces in the Saints an unutterable peace, which they preserve even in adversity, because as they love God, and know how beautiful He is to those who love Him, they place all their confidence and find all their repose in Him alone.” –Saint Alphonsus Liguori ( 1696 – 1787: was an Italian Catholic bishop, spiritual writer, composer, musician, artist, poet, lawyer, scholastic philosopher, and theologian that was declared a Doctor of the Church)
Gospel Text: (MT 28:8-15)
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb,
fearful yet overjoyed,
and ran to announce the news to his disciples.
And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee,
and there they will see me.”
While they were going, some of the guard went into the city
and told the chief priests all that had happened.
The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel;
then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
telling them, “You are to say,
‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’
And if this gets to the ears of the governor,
we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”
The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed.
And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.
Easter comes to us with a message of hope. We know for a fact that the Gospel writers recorded their accounts from hindsight. What is surprising though are the details and clarity of their recall. As first-hand witnesses, their experiences with all the interplay of mixed emotions, feelings, insights, questions, etc. had created an indelible impression of the Jesus whom they knew personally. The written accounts, although done by different writers, all agree in essence and truth about Jesus and his promises.
When everything had seemed to be falling apart, the discovery of the empty tomb and the appearance of Jesus gave new hope. Eventually, every piece of the puzzle came into place and doubts erased. What made these witnesses go forth to share the message of love and hope is remarkable; even to the point of death they never denied what they believed in. It is the ultimate truth that Jesus had come to tell, this can only be perfected in love.
In contrast, those who do not believe will challenge the truth and resort to underhanded tactics to discredit the message. Today, this comes to us in many forms: intimidation and threat by persecution; peer pressures; deception and distractions towards the pursuit of materialistic desires of wealth, power and fame; moral relativism that obscures the truth by creating doubts with pseudo ideas; etc.
How do we assess our faithfulness to the truth? Are we easily swayed by counter claims by popular public opinions that challenge the truth? Do we seek to verify authenticity and truth by developing our love for God and our fellow men to build the Kingdom of God? Is hope a factor in our Christian commitment?