Monday of the Octave of Easter
(Acts 2:14.22-33; Matthew28:8-15)
Cardinal Walter Kasper used to head the Vatican’s Secretariat for Christian Unity. Many times he dialogued with Orthodox and Protestant churches to increase the understanding between them and Catholicism. He tried to begin these meetings by listing the many values and practices which the disparate churches hold in common. He said that the differences would eventually surface but in the beginning all need to appreciate the many similarities. Peter uses the same tact in the first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles.
The disciples have just been inundated with the Holy Spirit. Neither fear nor confusion will now keep them from proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. But how can they make the message credible to the people in Jerusalem? Peter appeals to their knowledge of the Scriptures to show that Jesus’ rising from the dead can be traced in the Jewish tradition. He cites a psalm attributed to King David that says God will not allow His holy one to suffer corruption in the grave.
Like the women at Jesus’ empty tomb we also must tell others of Jesus’ resurrection. But how can we make the message credible today? There is no common knowledge of the Scriptures, but there is universal approval of works of charity. When we listen to the person who is hurting and share with those who lack necessities, people will eventually ask what makes us do it. Pope Francis proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus never more eloquently that when he took the face of that horribly disfigured man in his hands and blessed it.