April 14, 2017: Vespers of the Disposition
Nicodemus. Joseph Of Arimathea. The Myrrh-bearing Women. Mary Magdalene.
Because they love Jesus, all of these find the courage to defy both the Roman Empire and the Jewish authorities. It is this love that causes them to bury the body of Jesus and so openly bear witness to their love for Jesus.
God uses their loving courage for their dead Friend and transforms each of them into witnesses to the Resurrection. Each will become an evangelist to different places and people. For her part because is the first to meet the Risen Lord Jesus, Mary Magdalene will hold a special place. She announces the Resurrection to the Apostles. For this reason, we call her the Apostle to the Apostle.
As God transforms these first disciples into fearless witnesses, so too God is ready to transform us.
As He uses their love, He stands ready to use ours.
Our willingness to care for others in their need is the beginning of a life of active, if often quiet, Christian witness. While words about Jesus and the Gospel are always important, it is our acts of simply charity, that are most able to touch the hearts of those who don’t yet know Christ or His Body the Church.
We can’t argue someone into the Kingdom of God. If this were possible, Jesus wouldn’t have had to suffer and die.
What does draw others to Christ is our love for them. Seeing in us something sacrificial and caring inspires in others a curiosity about why we are different. This curiosity is the seed of faith. It was precisely because Christians were a peculiar people, that the Church was able to evangelize the Roman Empire.
What was peculiar about us was our love not only for each other–which is after all only natural–but also for those outside the Church.
My brothers and sisters in Christ! As we commemorate this afternoon the taking down on Jesus from the Cross and reflect on the courage of those who carried for Him Who they loved, let us also commit ourselves to imitate the charity of these first witnesses to Christ.