Catholic Men’s Lenten Gospel Pilgrimage – Easter Vigil – Saturday – Matt 28:1-10
After accomplishing His mission for the salvation of mankind and giving up His spirit, Christ’s scourged and crucified body is placed in a cold tomb hewn from stone (the Holy Sepulcher) near the place of the Crucifixion. Following darkness and earthquakes of Good Friday and the emptiness of the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday), Easter (“dawn”; “passover”) establishes a New Sabbath that celebrates the Resurrection of Christ Jesus and the salvation of many.
On Good Friday, urged by the Jewish leadership, Pilate has Christ’s tomb sealed with a giant stone and guarded by Roman soldiers for three days to make sure His disciples don’t stage a fake resurrection. At dawn on Sunday, Mary Magdalene and another Mary (not Our Lady) who witnessed Christ’s anguished death on the Cross and watched Him placed in the tomb, arrive with spices to complete the burial ritual (Mark 16:1). An angel of the Lord, blinding in appearance (“lightening”, “white”; similar to the appearance of Christ at the Transfiguration), arrives with a great earthquake and rolls back the enormous stone that seals Christ’s tomb. The Roman guards, violent and tested by battle, are nevertheless paralyzed in fear, appearing to be dead.
The Lord’s angel commands the women to not be afraid, confirms Christ has risen, instructs the women to view the empty tomb and to tell the Apostles Christ will appear in Galilee. As the fearful and joyful women rush back to the Upper Room, they encounter the Risen Christ (Matthew 28:9-10). Full of holy awe (fear and divine reverence) the two women lay on the ground, holding His feet and worshiping Him. Christ tells them not to be afraid and to tell His “brethren” (a comforting sign of forgiveness for the Apostles who abandoned Him) that He will appear to them in Galilee. The women rush to tell the Apostles and Peter and John go to the tomb and believe that Christ has risen (John 20:1-9).
1) Marvel at the astounding truth of the Resurrection: everything Christ predicts comes true; He rises from the dead with a glorified body; earthquakes occur; the angel appears to both disciples and enemies, etc.
2) Christ’s Resurrection confirms His divinity and the truth of eternal life. Review the Catechism’s reflections on the Resurrection (CCC 638-658) and pray for Christ to help you be drawn further into the Mysteries of the faith.
3) Caught up in the urgency of this world, men lose sight of the reality of the next. Reflection upon the truth of the Resurrection of the Body (CCC 655, 988-1019) and ask for Christ to help keep this truth in mind each day.