Cardinal Dolan was recently asked in an interview who was the most influential person in his life. He answered, “That’s easy. Jesus Christ.” When the reporter said that it had to be someone alive today, Dolan said, “My answer is still Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is alive.” The Easter resurrection reminds us that Jesus was not a glorious historical figure who left behind a rich tradition of faith, but a presence, a person, who is alive at this very moment.
The women who first encounter the reality of Jesus’ resurrection remember his words, and then rush off to share the Good News with the apostles. The apostles do not believe the women. They do not accept their testimony, but notice that when they are faced with this disbelief, with the ridicule of their friends (it “seemed like nonsense”), the women do not engage in lengthy theological debates, they do not argue. They tell their story and their witness stands for itself.
Their witness is enough to spark something in Peter. Their story, despite sounding like nonsense, inspires Peter to run to the tomb and experience the reality of the Risen Christ for himself.
People cannot be argued into believing the gospel. Philosophical arguments are not what change hearts. People are not argued into the Christian faith, they are loved, welcomed and invited into it.
We need to proclaim the gospel—not debate it. That is what the women did. That is what Peter did after his encounter. The first disciples did not argue the resurrection; they simply announced it: “This man [Jesus] was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death” (Acts 2:23-24). Announce the resurrection—don’t argue it. God wants witnesses, not lawyers.
How will you proclaim the good news of Christ alive today? How can you witness to the Christ’s living presence in your life with the same joy and astonishment of the women who first encountered the empty tomb?
He is Risen, Alleluia, Alleluia!
Originally written for and published in Life Teen Lenten Companion.