Overjoyed at the Resurrection!
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce the news to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. Matthew 28:8–9
They went away “fearful” but also “overjoyed.” What a fascinating combination! These two experiences do not at first seem like they go hand in hand. How is one fearful while also filled with joy? Wouldn’t fear undermine joy? And wouldn’t joy seem to cast out fear? This all depends upon what sort of “fear” these holy women were experiencing.
It seems that the fear these women were experiencing was one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the gift of holy fear. This is not a fear in the normal sense of being afraid. Rather, it’s a fear that is better defined as a deep reverence, wonder and awe. It’s a gift that enabled these women to recognize the profundity of what they were presently experiencing. They were in awe, holy shock, amazement and filled with joy all at the same time. They would have suddenly experienced the amazing realization and hope that Jesus had beaten death itself. They were most likely confused but also filled with a faith that left them with a conviction that something extraordinary had just taken place.
This is the experience we must have today. Today is the second day in the Octave of Easter. That means today is Easter Day once again. We celebrate Easter Day for eight straight days culminating with Divine Mercy Sunday. So, these next eight days are days when we should spend extra time trying to penetrate and experience the same experience these holy women had as they first discovered that Jesus was no longer in the tomb. We must let ourselves engage the mystery of the Resurrection. We must see it for what it is. We must strive to comprehend this gift and the amazing fact that in His Resurrection, Jesus destroys the effects of sin. He destroys death itself. Truly amazing!
Do you understand the Resurrection of Christ? Not well enough. It’s only the humble truth for each of us to admit that we need to understand the Resurrection more. We must let not only the truth of the Resurrection sink in, we must also allow the effects of the Resurrection to change us. We must allow the Resurrection of Christ to enter into our souls and invite us to share in this new life today.
As these holy women left the tomb, the Scripture tells us that they met the Resurrected Christ on their way. And it tells us that when they saw Jesus, they, “approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.” This is no small act of adoration and love. This act of worship and adoration of Jesus shows that they not only believed, but also acted by worshiping Him. We must do the same.
Reflect, today, upon the awesome event of the Resurrection and spend time this week in this humble adoration. Try to literally bow down to the ground in homage before the Resurrected Christ. Try to do this literally. Perhaps in the silence of your room, or in a church, or any place that you can comfortably express this literal and physical act of worship and adoration. As you do this, let yourself come face to face with the Risen Lord. And let Him begin to more deeply transform your life!
Lord, we do believe. We believe you rose victorious over sin and death. Allow us, especially during this Octave of Easter, to enter into the great mystery of Your Resurrection. Help us to understand and experience this overwhelming glory in our lives. We adore you with a profound love, dear Lord. Help us to worship you with all our might. Jesus, we trust in You.