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Jacob Boddicker S.J.Apr 1, 2024 12:00:00 AM1 min read

1 April 2024

Monday in the Octave of Easter

The men charged with guarding the tomb of Jesus are so terrified of what had happened, that instead of reporting back to Pilate, they go to the chief priests. Having failed in their duty to prevent anything from happening to the tomb and the body therein, they feared punishment, even death; perhaps the chief priests would be able to help them. Thus, instead of believing their own eyes—witnessing an earthquake, an angel, and the stone being rolled back (Matthew 27:2-4)—they chose to embrace a lie. These soldiers were the lone eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Jesus and they were so afraid of Roman justice that they would not, could not believe. Contrast that paralyzing fear with the joy of Mary Magdalene and the other Mary: they were “…fearful yet overjoyed…” at seeing the empty tomb, and ran to tell the disciples, when they meet Jesus on the way. Jesus tells them not to be afraid, and thus we can assume they went on with only joy remaining, His appearance confirming their faith and dispelling all fear.

This Gospel, written within a few decades or more of the Resurrection, notes that the story of the soldiers “…has circulated among the Jews to the present day…” yet we do not hear of anyone today circulating this story. However the story the women told the disciples, and likewise the story told by them to the people of the world is still told and still believed even two thousand years later. Jesus said before His death “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” (John 14:6): the Truth cannot die.