Reflection on the Daily Readings for 4/18/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Acts of the Apostles 4:13-21. Psalm 118:1.14-15.16-18.19-21.
Mark 16:9-15. Lectionary # 266.
At the ending of the Octave of Easter we are listening to an addition to
Mark’s Gospel that contains a summary of some of the appearances mentioned
in the other Gospels. Undoubtedly, this is an addition to Mark that is
inspired but not part of the original Gospel of Mark. The abruptness of
Mark’s ending at 16:8 probably led copyists to add three different endings.
We read the first of them in today’s liturgy of the word. The women were
afraid and did not speak in the original ending of Mark. Mary Magdalene in
our reading is led to believe and even shares the good news of the
resurrection with some of the apostles but they do not believe.
For us as believers in the resurrection, this summary helps us to recall
the other appearances and once more to reflect upon them. Which one touches
us most? Or do they all help me to believe? Do I have a favorite one?
These are questions that lead us to recall what we have heard during this
Octave of Easter. Even Mark’s original and disturbing ending:”They made
their way out and fled from the tomb bewildered and trembling; and because
of their great fear, they said nothing to anyone.” (Mark 16:8). Yet,
“Mark’s theology is consistent: Even a proclamation of the resurrection
does not produce faith without the hearer’s personal encounter with the
suffering and carrying of the cross.” (.R.E.Brown, N.T.Intro. p.148)..
We may discover various stages of our own believing in the resurrection
through these variant appearances. They summon us to “Go into the whole
world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.” That is a noble and
humble summons from the Lord.
In seeing that all of the four Gospels are written by those who had the
perspective of resurrection faith we realize that Jesus has not only
fulfilled the Scriptures but also his own sayings : “I am the living bread
come down from heaven”, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” “Whoever
believes in me shall not die.” We pray in the Angelus to make ourselves
through this prayer worthy of the promises of Christ. We believe in Jesus’
resurrection otherwise we would be only people with a this world
perspective following a Jewish teacher who offered us some good values and
some moral principles, but his life ended like ours. That’s it! But with
our belief in the resurrction we live out the summons offered at the end of
today’s reading and carry out the message of Jesus by our actions and our
prayers. The empty tomb remains just that, but Jesus’ faithful witnesses
and our own baptismal faith make us realize with Christ we were united to
him through likeness in his death so shall we be united with him in
likeness to his resurrection. Amen. (See Romans 6:3-11).