Speak, Mary, declaring
What you saw, wayfaring.
“The tomb of Christ, who is living,
The glory of Jesus’ resurrection;
Bright angels attesting,
The shroud and napkin resting;
Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;
To Galilee he goes before you.”
No, not for Jerusalem only! This power and life will spread to Galilee and beyond, even all the way to Renton! People often ask about this small detail, both in Scripture and the Easter Sequence which I quote above. Mary Magdalene, apostoli apostolis (the apostle to the apostles), was given the errand by an angel in the Gospel of Matthew, to begin the sharing of the Resurrection, the transmission of truth.
The peculiar thing that people tend to notice is that the angel infers that the apostles will find him in Galilee, yet Luke clearly places the Ascension at Bethany near Jerusalem. The angel in Matthew says, “…then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.’” Matthew goes on to say that the eleven went to Galilee, “...to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.” (v.28:16) Jesus gives them the great commission to evangelize the whole world “…baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (v.19-20) Then Matthew leaves out one detail, the Ascension.
These details seem to contradict themselves in the four Gospels, but we do see an essential element that all capture: Jesus is sending them forth from Jerusalem. The trauma of the crucifixion could easily have paralyzed the new-born Church if it weren’t for this outward movement of Jesus in the Resurrection narratives. As good physical therapists suggest in recovering health, whatever one does, move! This has a personal message as well as a corporate one; that this Gospel which has benefited me is not for me alone and I have a responsibility to go out of myself in sharing it with others.
Has the love of God ignited this fundamental Christian attitude in your soul? It is an important reflection on the extent to which one has received the Gospel message and the reality of Christ’s resurrected presence into our lives. The Latin phrase nemo dat quod non habet (you can’t give what you ain’t got*) is an appropriate principle here. It is a fair test as to whether we will follow Christ after all we have seen this Holy Week.
- ▼ April (4)