Additional Resource Material for this Sunday
Ideal for catechetical and liturgical dramatization of today's gospel.
Easter Sunday Cycle B
The First Day of the Week
(Mt 28:1-10; Mk 16:1-11; Jn 20:1-2 and 11-18)
All Christian faith is anchored in an event that has been transmitted to us for about two thousand years by Jesus’ group of friends: ignorant men and women, fishermen, artisans, people looked down upon by the “decent ones.” This band of the poor has passed the news from generation to generation: God resurrected Jesus of Nazareth, who was killed. He is alive, he has a life that pushes history onwards. In the first century, Paul said to the communities in Corinth that “if Christ had not resurrected, all our faith would be a void” (1 Cor 15:12-24).
We have faith in the resurrection of Jesus through the words of his disciples. This faith is transmitted to us by way of the gospel. We also open ourselves to faith in the resurrection through the experience of the Christian community where there is love between men and women, where they share and work for justice, like Jesus. In this way, Jesus shows himself to be alive. In this account, all the episodes corresponding to the narrations about the resurrection, aim to highlight this significant aspect of theology. That is why the voice of Jesus cannot be heard again. We only hear the testimony of those who have seen him, those who have talked to him, those who ate with him after the resurrection. Thus, the community is shown to be the mediator of our faith. We no longer hear Jesus in the episodes. The disciples themselves communicate their experience to us, the way it happened two thousand years ago. The first Christian groups were structured upon this transmission from mouth to mouth of a common hope creating a community of life. Today, the Church is built upon the same. Jesus did not resurrect by himself. Resurrection is not a miracle Jesus performs on his own body to bring back his life. The first Christian formulas revealed how we should understand this truth about faith: God raised Jesus from the dead and we are the witnesses (Acts 3:15). Jesus’ death, caused by unjust powers, reveals the sin of the world, killing the innocent. The resurrection is the definitive confirmation of liberation from death as announced by Jesus. Through it, God shows which is history’s destiny and shows Jesus as Lord and Christ (= Messiah).
The resurrection is a historical fact. It is not a hallucination of the minds of the apostles and the women, of his own imagination, a frenetic desire for Jesus to continue being alive. No, it is an event that has really taken place in history. History cannot give an account of the event directly, but only of the experience of those men and women. Since that Sunday, they experienced that Jesus is alive in a definitive manner. It was not a simple reliving; it was an indestructibe life (Rom 6:9). It is an experience which we find difficult to understand exactly, but it is not because the same becomes less certain. Such experience is likewise shown historically, not only through the testimony of his word but also through his life, starting from the attitudes which the disciples had been adopting as a community. The life of the first Christians – among them were the disciples – shows the resurrection: they overcame fear, shared everything they had; they continued the work of Jesus, they gave their lives for the faith.
For the first Christians, the “empty” tomb meant that Jesus was really buried, that his death was a reality. This explains the importance given in the detailed description of his interment.
Jesus’ condemnation by the authorities of Israel had made the apostles doubt God’s justice and fidelity, as Jesus had taught them. In contrast to John the Baptist and the other Jewish martyrs, Jesus did not give his life for the faith, nor for believing in the God of his ancestors. He was “condemned” by God (Deut 21:23 and Gal 3:13). The Paschal intervention of God changes the whole process and confirms all the preachings and actuation of Jesus.
The expressions “appeared to,” “allowed himself to be seen” (1 Cor 15:3), are the same ones formulated in the Old Testament in order to announce the Theophany (Gen 12:7; 17:1). Thus these expressions are replete with an intense Christology.
We should not reduce resurrection to a series of visions of a revived ghost who appears and disappears. The accounts about the resurrection, added later to the evangelical text, aim to show in a plastic form, picturesque perhaps, and always alive, what the faith of the disciples was when they attested to the resurrection. The most primitive of these accounts is the apparition to the women (in the gospel of John, it only deals with the Magdalene). It takes a prostitute to be the first to witness that Jesus is alive. In Israel, the women could not serve as witnesses in trials, as they were regarded as liars and troublesome. However, a woman was the first in witnessing to the resurrection – a woman, who, to make matters worse, was a whore. The subversion of values characterizing the life and mission of Jesus continues after the Passover. The faith of the Church that is born moves on through the passionate testimony – which at first, was not believed – of a woman belonging to the lowest social class.
Although the gospels are not consistent about the moment in which the mother of Jesus experienced her son as being alive, tradition has ever since considered it was Mary who was the first to see him and experience his having resurrected from the dead. In her, more than anyone else perhaps, would resound the jubilation announced centuries ago by the prophets, when they sensed what God had reserved for human history in the future (Is 26:19; 51:17; 52:1-2; 60:1-2).
(Mt 28:1-10; Mk 16:1-11; Jn 20:1-2 and 11-18)
from the book: A Certain Jesus, Vol. 3 (Chapter
This book offers a new approach to appreciating the life of Jesus. The first part of the Chapter is in dialogue form in an up-to-date conversational language. This makes the reader realize that Jesus was once a very ordinary guy, a typical man in his time. The last part of each chapter contains an explanation of the biblical references, thus giving one the perspective for reflection.
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