Love, the Best Approach to See the Risen Lord(see Jn 20:1-9)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The Gospel of this Easter Sunday tells us of how the three disciples of Jesus reacted to the news of His rising from the dead.
Early in the morning of the first day, they all went to the tomb where Jesus was laid to rest.
First, it was Peter, the leader who symbolizes the institutional Church, dealing with matters of law, discipline, doctrine, governance, formality and administration personnel. Taking this responsibility you are supposed to be as careful as possible in making decision in order not to commit any wrong. That is why the Church authority more than often takes slow but sure measures in response to the problems concerning faith and morals. For this slow reaction, the Church is most of the times criticized for being conservative.
Second, it was John, the author who wrote the Books of the Fourth Gospel and Revelation, and the three Letters, and who represents the think tank of the Church, dealing with theological research and studies. That thoughts go faster than deeds is the reality. To be doctrinally right, theologians need the approval of the Church’s Magisterium, or the Church’s official teaching authority. That was why Saint John, though running faster than Saint Peter and arriving to the tomb before him, had to let the latter enter the tomb ahead of himself.
Third, it was Mary of Magdala, the woman who once was saved by Jesus from the hands of the forces of evil, and who stands for all believers who are really united to Christ in thought, in word, and in action. Above all, these are Christians who truly and authentically live up to their faith in Christ, the Risen Lord, to the point that people can see in their lives, in whatever they think, say and do, the face of the loving and forgiving Lord and Savior Whom they first saw and met. This was just because they without any academic formation on theology love Him Who so loved them, sinners, that He died for them and freed them from death.
The three disciples mentioned in the Gospel story can tell us the following lessons:
1 . Knowledge of the Lord from books of catechism, of Holy Bible, is really necessary for the foundation of Christian faith. We should be able to explain to others the reason why we believe in Christ Jesus, why we hope for His saving power, and why love Him above all things and people.
2. But mere theory on faith in Christ is not enough and it sometimes becomes lifeless without work of love, as Saint James teaches us. Such are Christians who conduct a way of life totally contrary to what they profess by words of mouth and therefore they can only mislead people to the empty tomb, where they cannot see the Lord.
3. We need, therefore, to put our knowledge of Christ into practice, meaning to say, to apply His teaching together with the teaching of the Church founded by Him to any challenges in our daily life.
By so doing, we can really proclaim with all strength not only of our voice but also of our heartbeats the Good News that Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior truly rose from the dead and that He now lives for ever in you and in me, in our everyday challenges for being faithful to Him Who so loved us that
He laid down His life on the cross in order that we may live happily and eternally.
Fr. Francis Nguyen, O.P.