Five points about Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday
Gospel for Sunday, April 16, 2017
Resurrection of the Lord
By Glen Argan
- Mary Magdalene twice suggests that someone has stolen Jesus’ body (Jn 20.13,15). If Jesus’ body were stolen or the belief in the resurrection was the result of mass hallucination, why did the most strident persecutor of the early Church (St. Paul) come to believe in Christ’s resurrection and make it the centre of his theology? Why did the apostles give their lives to perpetrate a hoax? Why did the evangelists present women — whose testimony was not accepted in Jewish courts — as the first witnesses to the resurrection?
In John’s Gospel, the resurrection scene is the only place where the disciples run toward Jesus. In the rest of the Gospel, they follow him. However, in the story of the Good Shepherd (chapter 10), the hired hand who sees the wolf approaching runs away from his sheep. What is your response — follow tentatively, run towards Jesus or run away at the first sign of controversy?
- Christ’s resurrection changed the lives of his disciples; his rising from the tomb was not simply another historical event. Fearful and prone to betray him during his passion and death and even after the resurrection, the apostles’ lives were suddenly transformed when Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit upon them in the upper room. Have our lives been transformed by the Spirit?
- Thomas was not present at Jesus’ first appearance in the upper room. Whether from a feeling of being excluded or from skepticism, Thomas says he will not believe Jesus has risen unless he can put his finger in the marks made by nails in Jesus’ hands and feet and his hand in Jesus’ side. Yet, when Jesus does appear to Thomas and the others a week later, there is no indication of Thomas touching Jesus. Thomas believes immediately, and he proclaims the divinity of Jesus.
- When Jesus appears to seven disciples on the shore of Lake Tiberias, he asks Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me . . . ?” How is that love exemplified? Jesus says, “Feed my lambs . . . Tend my sheep . . . Feed my sheep.” Jesus has already done just that: After the disciples had had an unsuccessful night of fishing, Jesus urged them to cast their net to the right side of the boat. Immediately, they caught 153 large fish. The food symbolism in this section reveals God’s providence. Jesus’ disciples will never go without, but we must pass on the fruits of providence to Christ’s “sheep.”
[Acts 10. 34, 37-43; Psalm 118; Colossian 3.1-4; John 20.1-18]