The Gospel Today
At the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter
Mark 16: 1-7
Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome
bought spices so that they might go and anoint him.
Very early when the sun had risen,
on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb.
They were saying to one another,
“Who will roll back the stone for us
from the entrance to the tomb?”
When they looked up,
they saw that the stone had been rolled back;
it was very large.
On entering the tomb they saw a young man
sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe,
and they were utterly amazed.
He said to them, “Do not be amazed!
You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here.
Behold the place where they laid him.
But go and tell his disciples and Peter,
‘He is going before you to Galilee;
there you will see him, as he told you.’”
Jesus, through His obedience to God the Father, saves us all from condemnation and death. Now we await the Second Coming of Christ, the Parousia, no longer hidden in human form, but in all His glory. We live today as His followers, embracing a way of life that is worthy of our baptism and of being adopted sons and daughters of God. Although the glory of the Lord is not completely sensible, yet, by faith, we know that it is imminent and inevitable.
When Martha and the other women were walking towards the tomb of Christ, they worried about how they were to enter it, for the stone covering its sanctity was too heavy for them to roll away. The evangelist showed how God Himself exhibited His glory. He took into consideration our limitations and provided the necessities for us to appreciate the truth. Throughout the history of God’s saving work, He gave us what we needed to bridge the immeasurable gap brought about by original sin. He spoke to Abraham and brought him to the land where his descendants numbered as the stars in the sky or the sands of the seashore. He freed Israel from Egyptian bondage and gave the law to Moses. In utter self-abasement out of unconditional love for us, He sent His Son in the form of man and revealed Himself fully through the person of Jesus, including His teaching and healing ministry. As the noblest way of redeeming us, God became like us in all things but sin, in order to save all aspects of our humanity. He continues to sanctify us even now through the Holy Spirit.
When I entered this seminary four years ago, I thought that God permitted me to undergo priestly formation because I had the markings of a good priest. Since then, I have been cleansed of that initial misconception. I am a sinner yet Christ has called me to this vocation. I was chosen not because I had the right stuff but because I was the right man for the task: God chose me to shame the proud and the wise. With all my inherent weaknesses brought about by my sinfulness and infidelity to the baptismal promises, God planned to bring about my salvation through this way of life. With such intimacy to Christ’s sacrament of salvation, the Church, and to the seven Sacraments, the ways that His Church fulfills her role in the world, God knows that I will become the son He wants me to be. With love for Him and the obedience that overpowers the pain inherent in purification, I continue to freely undergo this formation process, as silver is heated in the crucible, as a sword is hammered in the forge.