Easter Sunday Year C - 17/4/2022 - Gospel: Jn 20: 1-9
After Three Days
Three days after the death of Jesus, for those involved in The Passion Of Christ, their world was turned upside down. The chief priests and the Pharisees felt as if they were struck by lightning when they heard about the devastating news that Jesus has risen from death; while Jesus' apostles were overwhelmed with great joy, when they received this heavenly news. The chief priests and the Pharisees knew what Jesus had openly told His disciples, that three days after His burial, He would rise again. But, aware of this prophecy, the chief priests and the Pharisees were careful put in place some measures. After the crucifixion they asked Pilate to have soldiers guard the sepulchre for three days

'for fear his disciples come and steal him away and tell the people 'He has risen from the dead'. Mt 27,64. The chief priests and the Pharisees 'made the sepulchre secure, putting seals on the stone and mounting a guard'. Mt 27, 66.

We don't know exactly what the soldiers had told the chief priests and the Pharisees about the resurrection of Jesus, but we are certain that the message the soldiers carried out to the public was not exactly what would have happened on the third night. The soldiers lied for a number of reasons. Firstly, it wasn't their free choice, but they had to lie to obey their orders. Secondly, they lied for payment; the chief priests and the Pharisees

'handed a considerable sum of money to the soldiers with these instructions. This is what you must say'. 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep' Mt 28, 11-12.

This statement itself is illogical: how could the soldiers know Jesus' disciples came and took His body away while they were asleep? If the noise had woken them, what would prevent the soldiers from retrieving Jesus' body and detaining the disciples? If a thief adopted a guerrilla technique, arrived and left as fast as they could, they could have left behind a trail of disaster. but, as the story unfolds, Jesus' body was simply missing. There was no trail of destruction. All that was left behind was the linen for wrapping the body, and it was nicely folded and put to one aside. No thief would show such kindness or have the spare time to do this.
Thirdly, the chief priests and the Pharisees promised to protect the soldiers from trouble for 'sleeping' on the job.

'Should the governor come to hear of this, we undertake to put things right with him ourselves and to see that you do not get into trouble, Mt 28,14.

The soldiers lied to receive their reward; while the chief priests and the Pharisees lived in fear. They lied to have Jesus crucified and continued to lie. Yet it was not enough for them to lie, it was even worse than that: they ordered their men to lie. Liars lived in fear because no one can separate lies and fear. They go together. Their fear was so great for them to bear they began to persecute those who dared to believe in the Resurrection of Jesus.

The Women who loved Jesus went to the tomb at dawn on the first day of the week. They told the apostles that Jesus' body was missing. The two apostles rushed to the tomb. This implied that they knew nothing about this sad news. The other two apostles were on their way home because their hope in following Jesus was shattered. This indicates that Jesus' apostles didn't steal His body as it was officially reported.

The choice for us is who to believe? Men or the women or the man in white? The soldiers lied for protection and reward. The women reported what they had seen and heard. They heard from the man in white who wondered.

'Why look among the dead for someone who is alive?' Lk 24,5.

Three days after the burial of Jesus, the mystery of His body still remained a mystery. What they had found was only the linen that wrapped His body. It nicely folded and left it on the tomb. No one had ever found His body because HE HAD RISEN.