Saturday of the Octave of Easter – Mk 16:9-15
As the Octave of Easter winds down, today’s Gospel offers us a sort of summary of the events we’ve heard recounted throughout the week. We notice two elements: first, the emphasis on the disbelief of the apostles, and, second, the command, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
Regarding the first, the words “they did not believe” sounds like a refrain in the Gospel. The apostles refused to believe, no matter who came to them, and no matter what they said. Finally, Christ Himself appears and rebukes them for their “unbelief and hardness of heart.” Although we know more details from the other Gospels, in Mark’s version we’re given a very streamlined story. Christ comes, and rebukes them, because they refuse to believe something that really needs to be at the heart of their faith. The Resurrection isn’t just a nice story, or a pleasant thought: as Saint Jose Maria Escriva would write: “Christ is alive. This is the great truth which fills our faith with meaning. Jesus, who died on the cross, has risen. He has triumphed over death; he has overcome sorrow, anguish and the power of darkness. The Lord’s triumph, on the day of the Resurrection, is final. Where are the soldiers the rulers posted there? Where are the seals that were fixed to the stone of the tomb? Where are those who condemned the Master? Where are those who crucified Jesus? He is victorious, and faced with his victory those poor wretches have all taken flight. Be filled with hope: Jesus Christ is always victorious. Jesus is the Emmanuel: God with us. His resurrection shows us that God does not abandon his own. He promised he would not.”
It’s only after the rebuke that Jesus can issue the command “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” That’s because, as Saint Paul will tell the Corinthians: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins.” Everything hinges on the Resurrection, on the fact that Christ did not remain dead in the tomb, but rather rose to life. That is where we place our hope, our victory, and our trust, and we can’t hope to spread that Good News if we’re not fully convinced of it.
Today, we can ask ourselves about how we see the Resurrection: do I have that Easter joy at the center of my life and my faith? Do I really trust with all my heart and soul in it? Today, let us pray, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Our Risen Lord, for the grace to set the Resurrection at the center of our lives, and thus be able to proclaim that truth joyfully to others.