Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday within the Octave of Easter

(Acts 2:14.22-33; Matthew 28:8-15)

In today’s gospel the Jewish authorities instruct the soldiers to lie about what had taken place the day of Jesus’ resurrection.  Moreover, it indicates that all the Jews believed the fabrication.  Scholars do not doubt that this report exaggerates the cover-up.  It is part of the often vindictive debate that was taking place between Christians and Jews when the gospel was being written.

Matthew begins his gospel with the story of how King Herod the Great tried to squash the coming of Christ to the world.  The king, frustrated by the Magi’s not returning to Jerusalem, orders all infant boys of the region killed.  Now at the end of the gospel the Jewish leaders try to stop news of the resurrection from spreading to the people.  God will frustrate them as well with Jesus’ appearances to the apostles and their proclamation to the world.

We live in a time of similar religious rivalry.  Muslims on one side and Christians and Jews on the other are wary of one another.  As Pope Francis demonstrated when he washed the feet of three Muslims on Holy Thursday, we must not allow this antipathy to spread.  We should never attribute to all Muslims the evil perpetrated by Muslim extremists.   We need to promote positive relations with Muslims because we are followers of Christ who died to show God’s love for all.