MARY MAGDALENE (MIDNIGHT
MASS OF EASTER)
If Christ appeared to the Jews
after His resurrection, the Jewish nation would be Catholic
today. But then that is not God's way. The glorified
Christ will only show Himself to those with perfect faith, to those
destined to be saved.
The empty tomb was the final test
of faith. Three sets of people saw the empty tomb and each had
a a different reaction. The guards saw the empty tomb and went
about saying that the disciples stole the body of Christ.
Secondly, Peter and John saw the empty tomb and they believed that
Christ rose from the dead. Thirdly, Mary Magdalene also saw
the empty tomb and, with a humble but inexperienced faith, thought
Christ was dead. Thus, Christ, appearing as a gardener,
rebuked her, "Do not touch Me." Since you have not
touched Me with a perfect faith, do not touch Me with your
hands. I told you I would resurrect. Because of your
slip of memory, I forbid you to touch Me.
But Mary Magdalene later on made up
for her lapsus memoriae and became worthy to behold the
The empty tomb propelled Mary and
the apostles to perfect faith. The same empty tomb drove the
Sanhedrin deeper into error: "The disciples stole His
body." Their lie made the truth more conspicuous in that
the lie was highly incredible. How can they steal; these poor,
unlearned and cowardly group? There was a seal and there were
soldiers. How can they who could not stand by Him while He was
alive stand by Him now that He is dead?
Having Christ crucified was a
big mistake. To undo their first error, the Sanhedrin went to
Pilate and asked for guards. This error is worse than
the first because the guards became witnesses to the opening of the
tomb. Their lie would have been more credible if there were no
guards. Endeavors to obscure the truth further occasioned it
to appear more clear.
By saying, "They stole the
body," they confessed that the tomb was empty. And, since
the fact that the disciples stole the body was not credible because
of the presence of the guards, their very statement proves the
St. Maximus of Turin, Sermon 39 A