An Easter Reflection

By Zuzanna Flisowska, General Manager, Voices of Faith

It was difficult for the disciples to believe in the resurrection. On Sunday morning they were completely devastated after the dramatic imprisonment and death of their Master. All their hopes were disappointed, the person they followed and loved cruelly killed. "For as yet as they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead", John comments.

Therefore, Gospel descriptions of confusion, questions and disbelief of the Sunday morning come as no surprise. At dawn, women went to the tomb. Faithful companions of the passion and death of the Lord, who followed him to the cross, wanted to give him their last ministry. There, with astonishment, fear and tears, they discovered that the tomb was empty.

It is difficult to reconstruct accurately, what happened next. In the four descriptions of the Gospel, details are mixed up, the memory of the confusion of that morning intertwines with theological discourse. Each author of the Gospel draws attention to another aspect. However, they all agree on the sequence of the main elements: the experience of women, their strong emotions, the notification of disciples by some of them, the disbelief of disciples and subsequent appearances of Jesus. In all four discourses, women are those who first bring news about the empty tomb. Among them, Mary Magdalene, equal to the apostles, has a special role, as she is the first to meet the resurrected Lord. Their words, however, were listened to with disbelief.

As Mark clearly shows, at the beginning everybody struggled with doubts. They did not believe what they saw or did not believe each other. In his version of the story, women who saw the empty tomb are silent for they were afraid. Then, when Maria Magdalena spoke out, the disciples didn’t believe her. Then Jesus appeared to two disciples – and the rest of them, again, did not believe their testimony. At the end, he appeared to all other disciples – and he “upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.”

Resurrection is first and foremost one of the fundamental truths of faith, without it it is difficult to imagine Christianity as we know it. So we contemplate the Sunday morning, we imagine ourselves among the disciples – and we also try to believe in the Resurrection. But standing between them, we can also learn a lot about the nature of a community of believers. We can see their divisions, mistrust and crisis – and see in which sense we repeat them.

A respect for the spiritual experience of all believers is what we as a community could learn from this Easter Sunday. We can ask ourselves, whether we still treat women's voices as “an idle tale”. Do we also ignore their important experience they want to share within the Church? Do we, as a community, deserve also that Christ “upbraids us for our unbelief and hardness of heart”?

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