Happy Easter! I know, I know…Easter was yesterday. That is so old news. But it isn’t! The Church celebrates Easter for fifty days! Wish someone a Happy Easter today. See what kind of look you get, then explain to them that the celebration didn’t end yesterday.
In today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 28, we read about the first post-Resurrection sighting of Jesus. As Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (not the mother of Jesus) were running to tell the disciples what they had been told by an angel, Jesus appeared to them. “They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.” And then the risen Jesus spoke to them. Do you know what the first words of the risen Jesus were? “Do not be afraid.”
That admonition (or one similar to it) is the most common in all of Scripture. Do not be afraid. Why would Jesus say this to these women? What did they have to be afraid of in the first place? Certainly they may have thought that they were seeing a ghost. But maybe there were other fears. Like the fact that they may not be believed because they were women. Or that people would think they were crazy. Or that they would be hunted down and persecuted because they persisted in talking about this Jesus. This always puts into my mind the song Be Not Afraid. Carry that around with you today! And take it to heart.
Father, teach us to leave our many fears behind, as we proclaim the resurrection of the Lord. Amen.