Jesus has risen and has appeared to his disciples. He chooses them as witnesses who will attest that he is alive.
The disciples have not seen Jesus rise from the dead. At first, Mary Magdalen can only attest that she has seen the stone removed from the tomb.
And for their part, the most that Peter and the other disciple can say is that they have found the tomb empty. They may say, too, that what they have seen in the tomb does not suggest the theft that Mary has thought of besides.
The other disciple can attest also that what he has seen has made him believe. And he has no name, since he is every Christian who sees and believes.
So, the three, no matter the conclusion of each, are not eyewitnesses of the resurrection. They can only attest, with the rest of the disciples, that they have seen Jesus alive with a body that knows no limit.
And it turns out they can attest in a convincing way. For soon some three thousand believe them (Acts 2, 41). Then, more than five thousand (Acts 4, 4). And even Gentiles, like Cornelius, come to believe, too. Yes, the disciples’ witness has gone out to all the earth.
How the disciples attest in a convincing way.
All is due to God’s grace and Spirit. He chooses, yes, those without learning to baffle the learned (Acts 4, 13; 1 Cor 1, 27). He makes their witness striking.
The disciples, in turn, give God no reason to turn them down. They are not two-faced, as is the one who boasts before God that he is just while he scorns the neighbor (Lk 18, 11-12). Rather, they show true care for the good of others.
They show, too, that they are weak and need God. To lock themselves in a house for fear is a way, though unconscious, of saying they are weak. And since they pray, they make clear that they need God to help them.
Yes, God gives the lowly grace and shows them the way (Jas 4, 6; 1 Pt 5, 5; Ps 25, 9; 138, 6; Prov 3, 34). Hence, the disciples also see God’s will and beat their prejudices. Thus, they find out, too, the meaning of what meets the eye; they seek what is above.
God, besides, makes them meek and bold preachers who will obey God rather than men. Theirs, too, are self-discipline and zeal. For they are happy to suffer for Jesus. They are willing, too, to give up their bodies and shed their blood.
We are to attest as the disciples.
We are by no means eyewitnesses (see 1 Pt 1, 8); just the same, we are called to attest. God also calls us weak people out of his sheer mercy (SV.EN IX:284).
And if we attest in the same convincing way as the disciples, all the more do we have to proclaim that God is great. And our spirit will have to rejoice in God still more, if we are so good that others cannot but see in us the living goodness of the Risen One (see SV.EN XIIIa:91).
Lord Jesus, open our eyes and our ears, and clean our hearts. In that way, we will see you risen, and you will, in turn, make us attest that you are alive.
4 April 2021
Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord (B)
Acts 10, 34a. 37-43; Col 3, 1-4/1 Cor 5, 6b-8; Jn 20, 1-9