Guards, shaken with fear, become like dead men at the sight of a radiant angel of the Lord sitting atop a massive stone the angel had rolled back from Jesus’ tomb. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, though fearful, remain standing, listening to the angel’s instructions. “I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay,” the angel tells the women. “Then go quickly and tell the disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.’” Fearful, yet overjoyed, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary run out to announce the Good News to Jesus’ disciples. (Matt. 28:1-10)
We will hear this story proclaimed in the Easter Vigil Gospel on Saturday night. It is a story that speaks to us, ordinary people called by our baptism to announce the Good News through the example of our daily lives. The story should fill us with joy, as it did Mary Magdalene and her companion two millennia ago, not because of what they witnessed. No, we should be overjoyed because of the Easter story’s promise of eternal unity with the God who created us and whose love for us is endless.
It’s amazing to think about how Christianity spread around the world; the announcement of the Good News carried through the millennia, guided by the Holy Spirit amidst the hardships, crises, joys and sorrows of every age. We witness this passing on of the faith every year right here in the Diocese of Davenport! Consider the nearly 200 individuals who will enter the Catholic Church in our parishes during the Easter Vigil Saturday night. Each one felt called to join us, companions on a journey of faith leading to full communion with our Triune God.
It’s not easy to be a Christian in the world today, whether in places where persecution is decimating the faithful or in places where the Christian faith is losing relevancy to a culture focused on today and instant gratification. But we have hope, which Pope Francis said “is rooted in the paschal mystery of Christ’s victory over death.” Christians who wish to follow Jesus’ example are called to love and do good, even to “those who do not wish us well or even harm us. It is the proclamation of God’s love, an immeasurable love that is unending, that is never lacking and that constitutes the very foundation of our hope,” the Holy Father said during his weekly audience April 5 (Catholic News Service).
So we announce the Good News, the hope of our faith, through our interactions — at work, in the classroom, standing in line at the grocery store, waiting at the doctor’s office, working out at the “Y” or reading stories to the kids. We announce the Good News chauffeuring someone who is ill to a chemo treatment or kidney dialysis. We announce the Good News in conversation with guests at a soup kitchen or food pantry, in the hospital or in jail. We announce the Good News when we scoot over in the pew for a latecomer to Mass or share an understanding look with a parent dealing with a crying child. We announce the Good News when we encourage vocations to the priesthood, the diaconate or religious life. We announce the Good News when we pray around the bed of a dying friend. We announce the Good News when we take part in politics and work for the common good, when we join our voices to others, advocating for the poor and the marginalized, for the environment, and for peace.
We were not eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection, but we, too, are overjoyed by the promise of what we believe and what we do because of his resurrection.
Barb Arland-Fye, Editor