Called to become witnesses
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Octave of Easter, Saturday 1st Reading: Acts 4:13-21 Gospel: Mark 16:9-15
After Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary of Magdala from whom he had driven out seven demons. She went and reported the news to his followers, who were now mourning and weeping. But when they heard that he lived and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.
After this he showed himself in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. These men too went back and told the others, but they did not believe them.
Later Jesus showed himself to the Eleven while they were at table. He reproached them for their unbelief and stubbornness in refusing to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
Then he told them, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.”
(Daily Gospel in the
Assimilated Life Experience)
I was saying Mass at a funeral parlor and chose the Gospel reading describing how Jesus restored Lazarus back to life. Then I said, “Like Lazarus, your relative will come back to life if Jesus were here today.” At this, a little boy fainted. When he regained consciousness he told me he was frightened his grandfather would come back to life because the old man used to beat him black and blue at the slightest mischief. Funny, he too was weeping earlier together with the others. It turned out that the death of the old man was good riddance for him. This experience plunged me into deeper reflection of today’s Gospel.
Jesus’ followers were mourning at his death. Yet when Mary of Magdala reported that he rose back to life, they refused to believe. It was not because Jesus’ death was good riddance for them, though. It was because their faith in Jesus was skin-deep. They have read from Scriptures that “the Messiah must suffer and die but on the third day will rise again.” But they never thought Jesus would be that Messiah. Jesus had to appear to them inside locked rooms. Stronger than the locks of those doors was their lack of faith that imprisoned them in disbelief. Jesus challenged them to come out and become his witnesses. He told them: “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.”
While none of us will admit that our faith in Jesus is skin deep, we are like that little boy who fainted at the funeral Mass I presided over many years ago. He pretended to be sad but in reality the death of the grandfather was good riddance for him. We pretend to be followers of Christ, yet the quality of our life of witnessing reveals that our faith in Jesus is shallow. –(Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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