The life and legend of Jesus is riddled with misconceptions, denials, and struggles to defend who he was. It is no wonder then that his resurrection should be so difficult as well. In this story from Luke, the women who go to prepare Jesus’ body with spices are told by the angels that Jesus has risen. With excitement, the women go to tell the apostles the news. But the apostles don’t believe them and tell them they are speaking nonsense. But not Peter. Peter recognizes immediately that the women are telling the truth, that they are bringing the good news Jesus had told them all to watch for. No wonder he is the rock upon which the Church would be built.
It bothers me that the women were not believed and that the apostles ‘considered their words nonsense’. But who can blame them either? When you look at many of our beliefs, especially from the outside, they do seem sort of strange! Just think about other religions you have heard about; looking from the outside we easily criticize yet do we ever take a minute to think about how strange our tradition might sound to others?
With this Easter arriving, I am reminded that our liturgical seasons are meant to help us with unbelief. They are meant, in part, to help us understand that which cannot be easily understood. Our liturgical colors, rituals, readings, and such speak to our sense of faith when the intellect of our faith cannot fully grasp certain realities.
The women of the tomb offered a great ministry to the early church, a different kind of prophecy and truth telling about things that are difficult to grasp. And this prophesy came from within, came from the people, not necessarily the authority figures. Like Peter, sometimes our Magisterium’s role is to behold the Spirit moving in the people of God. Let’s give them something to talk about. Let us speak boldly, and share the Good News entrusted to us.
It is hardly insignificant that the Good News of the Resurrection was shared with those who came to do a loving act-preparing Jesus’ body. The adventure of loving often brings us to places we never imagined. It may even bring us straight into the hands of people who will doubt us. May we take courage from the women of Luke’s story and speak anyway, believe anyway, even when modern day apostles reject our message.