1st Reading: Acts 2:14, 22-33
Responsorial Psalm: 16:1-2a, 5, 7-8, 9-11
Gospel: Matthew 28:8-15
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Welcome to the Octave of Easter, in which we celebrate the vindication of our faith and the cause of our hope, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church asks us to meditate and celebrate this great miracle for a full 8 days, an uncommon celebration in our modern world, but events of this importance demand a celebration of this magnitude. How often do we fail to appreciate a gift, or celebrate a great good? The World Series came and went; the Super Bowl came and went; the Olympics came and went… as excited as we may get for events like these, they rarely hold our interest and excitement for a few whole days. Yet the witness of the New Testament challenges us to uniquely preserve this singular occasion of true joy.
This cause of our hope is named in many New Testament passages. Further, in St. Peter’s witness in the first reading today, we see that the Old Testament bears witness to the power and expectation of this event too. Citing Psalm 16:8-11, St. Peter shows that the resurrection is not only a miraculous sign for those who were present, but is also the fulfillment of prophesy, of Scripture. This same Saint tells us in 1 Peter 3:15 to “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls on you to account for the hope that is in you.” Can we explain why our hope is in the Lord? There is an opportunity in this octave to reflect on the impact of the Resurrection in our own life.
The Gospel of this day gives a cause for hope and a warning about the world. Hope, because Jesus is risen, and appears to those who actively seek him. But there is a warning here as well; those chief priests and elders who did not want a dying-and-rising Messiah refused to accept the hope Jesus offered them. Held back by their expectations, by their attachment to the status quo, they refused to accept the plan of God, even actively working to prevent others from hearing the news of the Resurrection. Unless God played by their rules, they would not participate.
We all encounter people like this in our day-to-day life; people who have lost the faith after a tragedy, or Christians who have lost their passion after weeks, months, or even years of dry prayer. Many of them feel hopeless, as so often we all do. This Octave of Eater should challenge and inspire us to share the hope that is in us during this season, because He truly has taught us the way of life, and truly fills us with joy in His presence (Acts 2:28). May we be transformed by the Lord who breaks out of the tomb to give abundant life to a people in need.
Do the good. Be the good.