MONDAY IN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER
Acts 2:14, 22-33
On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.
“You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. For David says concerning him,
‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will live in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
“Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying,
‘He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh experience corruption.’
This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear.
Psalm 16:1-2a and 5, 7-11
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure. For you do not give me up to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit.
You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You must say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story is still told among the Jews to this day.
The lie that was told in the book of Matthew, that the disciples stole the Lord’s body, was effective. It is still being told and believed to this day, and it proves that fake news is nothing new.
The story is completely logical. It is plausible. But we know it is not true. It was a story made up to complete a narrative and those who want to believe it, conveniently believe it. But when people want to know the truth they ask probing questions and take time to investigate. What would have become of the body of Jesus if it had been stolen? Wouldn’t the disciples have protected the body and tended a grave? And would this never have been discovered?
In the first reading, Peter speaks about the signs and wonders done by Jesus and the fact that there were witnesses to his resurrection. People can chose to ignore what Peter says and believe that Jesus’ body was stolen. But what of the prophets who foretold Christ? What of the testimony of God the Father himself? What of the witnesses of the resurrection and the disciples who have lost their fear of death and continue his mission to preach the good news? Are these not equally compelling testimonies?
All who listened to Peter and believed, received eternal life and became children of God. That is the advantage of believing the truth. We who believe in the paschal mystery, receive the Holy Spirit and the hope of our own resurrection.
Today we thank God for the Resurrection of Christ and for all the benefits we receive because we believe. And we pray for those who are far away to come to faith in Jesus.