By Father Danny Ferrandiz
For the Umatuna Si Yu’os
Once a priest was asked: “Father, what is Easter?” Instead of answering, the priest bursts into singing the “Alleluia.” St. Augustine said: “We are Easter people and Alleluia is our song.” He emphasizes that the joy that Easter brings is irreversible because Christ’s Easter victory is a divine action that cannot be repeated. Because of this, the grace of Easter is not only joyful, but it is also transformative – it changes lives.
Mary Magdalene and Peter both experienced devastation when Christ died. Their dreams and hopes pinned on him were shattered but the good news of the resurrection gave them the power to be transformed.
How? What happened to Peter? With the return of Jesus, everything changed for Peter. He was restored, commissioned, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. This frightened fisherman who denied Christ three times and hid during the crucifixion became Jesus’ powerful voice who stood before the crowds on Pentecost calling 3,000 people to repentance (Mk 14:66-72). His sermons became a powerful testimony to the resurrection – a living hope that each Christian must possess in his heart.
What about Mary Magdalene? Whereas, the Mary Magdalene before the crucifixion was described as weak and a woman of ill repute, the Mary Magdalene after the resurrection of Christ is portrayed as a courageous woman, not afraid to be identified with Christ.
The Gospels mentioned Mary at the resurrection site. St. Matthew described her as the first to learn that the tomb was empty. St. Mark portrayed her as one of the women who went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body but found it empty. St. Luke narrates the three women, one of them Mary Magdalene, who came to the gravesite and saw that the stone that covered the tomb was rolled away; then they were told by two men in dazzling clothes that Jesus has risen from the dead. In St. John’s Gospel, he recounts how Mary went to the tomb and when she found it empty, she wept. Then Jesus whom she did not recognized appeared to her. When finally, she recognized Jesus, she ran to Peter and the other disciples and told them that she has “seen the Lord.”
Undeniably, these episodes of her presence at the resurrection site is something that is worth pondering on. When all others have abandoned Christ, this woman showed extraordinary courage that befits the true disciple of Jesus. Mary Magdalene portrayed a faith not shown by the other disciples in the midst of fears, uncertainties, and doubts.
Mary Magdalene’s image is an epitome of Christian courage and faith. She believed in her heart that knowing and following Christ is not based on a short-term gain but a living hope. Peter and Mary Magdalene remind us that the resurrection of Jesus is not just a part of our Christian faith – it is the Christian faith. And their stories can become our stories, too, if we put our faith in Jesus Christ.
What about us? What impact does the resurrection of Jesus have for us? We don’t have a physical encounter with Jesus Christ like Mary Magdalene, Peter, and the people during Jesus’ time. How can the resurrection of Jesus transform us?
The Resurrections should have a transformative effect in our consciousness – meaning in our idea of God. The resurrection is a real event. What has taken place 2,000 years ago makes all the difference in our understanding of God and his power. That God did not only defeat evil, He defies the human understanding of death. The empty tomb points to a reality that escapes human understanding.
With Jesus’ resurrection, everything that the Bible says becomes not merely historical facts but is interpreted in a new light. If he did not rise from the dead, there would be no church, no meaning of the sacraments. All Jesus’ teaching will have no meaning for us. And his passion, suffering, and death would be a futile endeavor if the resurrection did not happen.
It transforms our consciousness because it brings a new sense in the understanding of our faith. It gives us hope for new beginnings. This is symbolized by the “linen cloth” that was carefully folded and neatly arranged on one corner of the tomb. It means that that anyone who believes in Christ will become a new creation; everything old had passed away; that we are now members of his body, temples of his Spirit and sharer in his relationship with his Father (2 Cor 5:17). In the words of Pope St. Pius X, with the resurrection, everything has been restored in Christ – “Instaurare Omnia in Christo.”
Today we should relish this joy of Easter, thanking God for letting us share in this victory, for giving us this hope. But let’s not stop there. Let’s not just enjoy Easter. Let EASTER transform our lives.
Invitation: Those interested in joining our November 2019 Holy Land-Biblical Turkey Pilgrimage can contact Mario Celis at 788-1628 or me, Father Danny, at 797-9968