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Molly CahillApril 10, 2023
Yellow daffodil flowers in bloom in springPhoto from Unsplash. By Tim Gouw.

A Reflection for Monday in the Octave of Easter

Find today’s readings here.

I saw the Lord ever before me,
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted;
my flesh, too, will dwell in hope,
because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence. (Acts 2:25-28)

Just like Christmas, Easter is much more than just a day. I mean that in a metaphorical and sentimental sense, yes, but also in a literal (and liturgical) one. While the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday liturgies have their own particular mood of triumph and celebration, Catholics will be in the Easter season for the next several weeks, until Pentecost Sunday at the end of May. There are many more “Alleluias” to be sung.

While the Resurrection is the ultimate new beginning, reading the Gospel accounts of the empty tomb and celebrating the Easter liturgy can feel kind of like a satisfying cinematic ending, saving the day and landing on just about the highest note one can imagine. As we keep up this season for nearly two more months, what can possibly follow this?

Today’s readings give us at least the beginning of a hint. The question for the disciples, and for us, is how to possibly tell this story now that it has been shared with us. The task is herculean, and not all versions lead to a neat ending where people tell about the joy of the Resurrection and it’s warmly received by an eager audience. (In today’s Gospel reading, there are two diverging narratives. In the first, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary who witnessed the tomb with her run to share the news with the other disciples. In the second, the chief priests and elders bribe the stunned tomb guards to keep what they’ve seen to themselves and instead tell people that Jesus’ disciples came and stole his body from the tomb.) One thing is clear, though: In those moments after you’ve witnessed this, there’s no way of just keeping it to yourself.

There are many more “Alleluias” to be sung.

On Easter Sunday, the message is fresh. But as the liturgical season of Easter continues, so does daily life, and that clear sense of triumph might begin to fade.

For any person of faith, this is a lifelong challenge: to continue to tell this story with your life even on the less triumphant days, when you don’t feel inspired, when daily concerns threaten to overtake all your energy. On the days after. On the Easter Mondays. In the ordinary times.

When that challenge begins to shake us, let us remember one truth to carry us through: Like the disciples, we have been witnesses to the Resurrection. Yes, we’ve heard about Jesus from them, the people who knew him and walked with him, who grieved for a few days before an unimaginable miracle brought Jesus back to them. But we have seen the Resurrection for ourselves, too. We’ve seen it in new life, in new seasons, in our own moments when faith and hope came to pick us up in the wake of tragedy and fear and despair.

In the face of doubts and drudgery, our memories will save us. I saw Jesus. I saw a miracle. I saw it for myself. And even though things might feel hard today, I remember how it felt to witness something like that. I remember that I had hope. I trust that I will again.

You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.

You have, and you will.

More: Scripture

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