Today is Easter Saturday. Today the Gospel of St. Mark provides us with a summary of several of the Risen Lord’s appearances after his resurrection from the dead.
“Sisters and brothers, the Resurrection of Jesus and the power that flows from his life-giving Spirit are not limited to the apostles or to others to whom he appeared — that grace flows to us in abundance,” says Bishop Earl Boyea in his daily reflection for Easter Week, April 10.
“We too share in his victory and have our names written in heaven. We should not be shy about going forth into the whole world to preach by word and example, for signs indeed will accompany us.” You can read Bishop Boyea’s reflection in full below:
This ending to Mark’s Gospel (16:9-15) appears to have been written by someone else who probably was disconcerted by the current ending of Mark’s writing: “They [the women] said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid” (Mark 16:8). The verses we hear today on the Saturday after Easter really serve as a summary of the appearances of Jesus from the other Gospels.
What fascinates me is that Jesus has not given up on the apostles. He finds faith in Mary Magdalene and in the two disciples on their way to Emmaus. But when Jesus appears to the eleven, he “rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised” (Mark 16:14). Perhaps, this points to the ever-present contrast between the weak faith of some of the hierarchy and the stronger faith of many of the lay faithful. Nonetheless, it is to this very apostolic band that the commission is given to go to the whole world and proclaim the Gospel.
Not many will hear this Gospel account from the end of Mark since so few places have a Saturday morning Mass. So, we will not hear of the signs which will accompany “those who believe”: driving out demons, speaking in tongues, handling serpents, drinking deadly things, and healing the sick (Mark 16:17-18). Jesus was rejoicing in his own defeat of evil and Satan. The one who had ruled the world and kept it in darkness was now on the run. Those who believe share in Christ’s victory. Still, as Jesus told the 72 on their return from mission, “do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).
Sisters and brothers, the Resurrection of Jesus and the power that flows from his life-giving Spirit are not limited to the apostles or to others to whom he appeared. That grace flows to us in abundance. We too share in his victory and have our names written in heaven. We should not be shy about going forth into the whole world to preach by word and example, for signs indeed will accompany us.