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The report of the guard

Gospel Reading: Mt 28:8-15
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce the news to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened. The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’ And if this gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.

This assurance often accompanies call stories in the Bible. God guarantees his abiding presence for the people he calls. Joshua (1:5-9), Jeremiah (1:8), and Mary (Lk 1:30) are examples of this.

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary are commissioned to tell the disciples that Jesus is alive. Women are the first heralds of the joyful news that Jesus is not dead but alive.

We find a contrasting scene in the meeting of the chief priests assembled with the elders; they bribe the soldiers to spread the rumor that, at night, while they were asleep, Jesus’ disciples came to steal Jesus’ body. Their statement reveals their deceitful way: how can they know that the disciples stole Jesus’ body when they were in fact sleeping?

While the women spread the joyful news of Jesus’ resurrection, the men are conniving to destroy the reputation of the disciples to save face. This kind of situation is still happening in our time. Some people tend to discredit others for their own advantage. Jesus’ resurrection offers us new life; let us accept it with open mind and heart.

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God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other (attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr).

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.