Today’s readings, as we continue the Easter octave, remind us that Easter is also a proclamation of the end of the greatest fear man has ever faced: death. In today’s First Reading Peter boldly “proclaims” that Christ has risen from the dead after everything he had endured and suffered: his enemies thought death would be a definitive solution, but not even death could contain the Christ. Mary Magdalene is described in today’s Gospel as “fearful yet overjoyed.” A horrible death has not definitively conquered her Lord; rather, in his death Our Lord has conquered death itself for all of us.
The thought of this life ending some day for each one of us has captured the imagination and anxiety of mankind throughout the centuries. Some have faced it with resignation and an attitude of tragedy and drama. Others have shaken their fist at it and tried to squeeze every drop out of their life before it runs out. Christians live this life and the thought of death with hope: we know now, thanks to Christ and through Christ, that death no longer has the last word. Death is a passage to a new and wonderful life for those who believe in Christ.
Let’s treat those little fears about proclaiming Christ and his victory over death as just that: shadows that should vanish in the light of Christ. Christ is truly risen and the fear of death, be it physical death or simply the death of our reputation for sharing the Good News, should no longer hold sway over us.
Readings: Acts 2:14, 22–33; Psalm 16:1–2a, 5, 7–11; Matthew 28:8–15. See also Easter Monday.