Our words, actions are proof of the Resurrection

We have made it through Lent. Holy Week has arrived and next comes the celebration of Easter, the celebration of Jesus conquering death and rising from the grave. However, this most important event for Christians has no eyewitness to it as it was actually happening. No one was there, that we know of, when Jesus rose from the dead and came out of the tomb.

When Mary gets to the tomb, it is already empty. She runs back to the apostles, and Peter and another apostle run to the tomb and find it empty. John’s account tells all they found in the tomb were the burial clothes, the one from his head separate and rolled up neatly.

So, is the empty tomb evidence of the Resurrection? At the end of the Gospel reading, we are told they did not yet understand that Jesus had to rise from the dead. If the empty tomb is evidence of the Resurrection, the two apostles and Mary would have believed and understood.

As it is written, they went away not understanding. Since the empty tomb is not evidence for Mary and the apostles, where do we find that evidence?

A few verses later in verse 16, we hear that Mary recognizes Jesus when he calls her by name. The definitive evidence of the Resurrection for the apostles was Jesus’ appearances to them.

What is the proof or evidence of the Resurrection for us? It is the Scripture writings in the New Testament, the eyewitness accounts of those who saw Jesus after the Resurrection, and the way they lived their lives in the early Church.

What does our belief in the Resurrection of Jesus, Easter, mean for us? Easter is a call to action.

Once he has called Mary by name and she recognizes him, Jesus sends her to the others with news of the Resurrection. Before his ascension into heaven, he sends those early believers out to the whole world. In the early Church, after Jesus has returned to the Father, evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus comes from the actions of those early Christians, their preaching and living the Gospel.

Just as Jesus called Mary by name, he calls us by name at our baptism and confirmation. Just as Jesus sent Mary to the apostles and the apostles to the world, he sends us to be his witnesses in our world. St. Teresa of Avila, a doctor of the Church, said: “What the Beloved wants from us is action,” (Quoted by Mirabai Starr, March 14, 2023 reflection from “Center for Action and Contemplation”).

The Resurrection of Jesus is a call to action. Our actions bear witness to Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead. However, St. Paul writes in the Letter to the Colossians to seek what is above. Our experience of God impacts our actions.

It is in prayer and contemplation that we find what is above and our lives become buried in Christ. This union with Christ gives direction to our work on earth and our work gives further proof of the risen Lord.

Proof today that Jesus died and rose from the dead will continue to come through the written word of God and the example of the early Christians.

Our words and actions will also be proof of the Resurrection. It is in prayer and contemplation we find God. It is in our words and actions that others experience God alive in us.

Deacon Christopher Colville serves at Church of the Redeemer, Mechanicsville.

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