TUESDAYS WITH TERESA: Alleluia, Jesus is risen, Alleluia!!!

This week, we are being called to be witnesses when we gather with other church and community groups for the Founding of the Hunter Community Alliance. Presently, the only body Christ has on earth now is ours.

Today, Sunday, is the Octave of Easter, eight days of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have spent these eight days listening to the different Gospel accounts of the empty tomb and Jesus’ appearances to the women and his closest friends.

At last week’s Easter Vigil we listened to Mark’s version (Mark 16:1-7) of the Resurrection in which Mary of Magdala goes to the tomb, with another Mary and Salome, to anoint Jesus. They find the tomb empty, and an angel announces that ‘Jesus has risen, he is not here’. This is the sudden natural ending of Mark’s Gospel. The other verses that follow this were written by a different author.

Then on Easter Sunday, we listened to Gospel reading from John (20:1-9) about Mary of Magdala going to the tomb, finding it empty and running to Simon Peter and the other disciple informing them that they have taken the Lord’s body. In seeing the linen cloths, they understood the teaching of scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead.

On Monday we then heard the Gospel account from Matthew (28:8-15) in which the women, filled with awe and great joy ran to tell the disciples. In their encounter with Jesus, whom they recognised, Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell the brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.’

On Tuesday, the story continues from John’s gospel (20:11-18). We find Mary weeping at the tomb when she encountered two angels and then a person, she thought to be a gardener. Upon hearing her name ‘Mary’, she knew it to be Jesus. She then went to inform the disciples she had seen the Lord.

On Wednesday, the familiar story of the two downcast disciples on the road to Emmaus from Luke’s Gospel (24:13-35) was proclaimed. Jesus walks with them, listens to them and speaks to them until their eyes were opened, indicating; ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’

The story from Luke (24:35-48) continues on Thursday, with Jesus appearing to the disciples, saying, ‘Peace be with you!’ Because of their fear, Jesus shows them his hands and feet and invites them to touch him. Not only could they see and touch him, but Jesus also ate with them. They were witnessing the fulfillment of the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms.

The Gospel reading returns to John (21:1-14) on Friday, with the disciples fishing by the Sea of Tiberias, not catching any fish. Jesus calls from the shore inviting them to throw their nets out again. This time their catch was plentiful, and they recognised that it was the Lord. On coming ashore, they shared a barbeque of bread and fish, by the fire.

By Saturday, we return to Mark’s Gospel (16:9-15) with a different version of the resurrection account. This time Mary of Magdala, informs Jesus’ companions, who do not believe her account that Jesus was alive. They also did not believe the two disciples who had seen him on their way into the country. He then appeared to the Eleven, saying to them, “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.’

On day eight, the octave, we return to John’s gospel (20:19-31), with Jesus entering the locked room because the disciples were afraid. He says to them, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.’ You would be familiar with how the story goes. Thomas was not with them and needs evidence because he does not believe that they have seen the Lord. Jesus returns eight days later, inviting Thomas to place his finger in his hands and his side.

In these passages we witness the overwhelming emotions that filled the hearts of the women and men as they encountered the extraordinary events surrounding Jesus’ resurrection. The earthquake, the appearance of the angel, and the sight of the empty tomb all stirred great joy and fear within them.

Extraordinarily, the fear the women experienced did not stop them from taking action. Rather, it accompanied great joy, which compelled them to run and share the incredible news of Jesus’s resurrection with the disciples.

As the women responded in faith and action, they offer us a valuable lesson. These women encountered Jesus. They knelt before him, embraced his feet and praised God that Jesus had returned to them. They recognised the sacred and the overwhelming power of God’s presence. They heard the words spoken to them: “Do not be afraid”.

While spoken to the women, these words are also spoken to us – “Do not be afraid”. Just as the women were called to witness the resurrection, we too are called not to allow fear to hinder us; rather, allow it to ignite a fire of joy and urgency within us to share the Good News with others.

This week, we are being called to be witnesses when we gather with other church and community groups for the Founding of the Hunter Community Alliance. Presently, the only body Christ has on earth now is ours. Like the women who found the empty tomb, we are called to be witnesses of this Good News, to go into the world and to proclaim the reason for our hope. To not be afraid to say the words, ‘peace be with you.’ We are to be a group of believers united in heart and soul. It will be an honour to co-chair this Founding on behalf of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

Together we keep proclaiming, Alleluia, Jesus is risen, Alleluia!

Follow mnnews.today on Facebook.

Teresa Brierley Image
Teresa Brierley

Teresa Brierley is Director Pastoral Ministries of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.