Today’s reading: Mk 16
It’s Easter morning and the women, Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James, go to the tomb to anoint the body. They are concerned as to who will open the tomb for them. Upon their arrival, they find the tomb open. They go inside and saw a “young man dressed in a white robe” (elsewhere described as an angel) tells them,
Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him as he told you.
First, of note is that it is women who first finds the empty tomb and are told to go and announce/testify to the resurrection. Woman’s testimony was considered worthless in ancient Israel. If you were a Jew who wanted to make up a story about resurrection it’s doubtful you would have put the key moment into the mouths of women. The fact that the Gospel records it this way is thus a clue confirming it is recorded as it actually happened.
Second, note that they are told to tell the “disciples and Peter”. Notice, again how Peter is singled out for special treatment by the Lord. Peter is clearly the leader of the Apostles.
Third, notice how the young man says, “do not be amazed”. This itself is an amazing statement. How are we not supposed to be amazed by a resurrected messiah?! The answer is given in the statement of the young man when he says, “you will see him as he told you.” The reason not to be amazed is that God keeps his promises. He told the Apostles this would happen and it did.
Finally, not Mark’s version of the Great Commission. Jesus says,
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes AND is baptized will be saved….
This again shows that “faith alone” is not sufficient. One must have faith and be baptized. It also shows that sacraments, like baptism, must have an effective nature to them. There is no reason for Jesus to commission the Apostles to baptize if it is only an ineffective symbol. Thus baptism, like the other sacraments, must convey grace and be effective.
Tomorrow: 1 Cor 1