The Truth Will Always Prevail
Monday of Octave of Easter in Eastertide
Acts. 2:14, 22-33 & Mt. 28:8-15
One of the striking things about Jesus’ Resurrection appearances is that each time He meets someone He sends them on a mission to tell others the good news. They are to be His witnesses of the new Easter truth that He is risen.
In today's Gospel reading, when the women embraced Jesus, He tells them to go and carry the news to His brothers that they are to go to Galilee to meet Him there. Through these appearances Jesus is remaking His community, which was broken and scattered by His Passion, into a new community centred on His Resurrection.
What exactly did the guards tell the chief priests to explain the empty tomb? They did not see Jesus rise from the dead. No one did. What they must have experienced was the earthquake that took place. Would they have seen the angel of the Lord roll away the stone? They were so afraid that some of them ran immediately into the city to inform the chief priests. This news really worried them. What were they to do? If Jesus had risen from the dead they would have to accept the hand of God in this and so accept Him as the promised Messiah as He had claimed. But they were not prepared to do this. They were desperately worried men. Was it possible that all their planning had come to nothing? They decided they had to lie and bribed the soldiers with a good sum of money, telling them to let people know that while they were asleep Jesus' disciples stole His body.
It is interesting to see the means that the Jewish authorities used in their desperate attempts to eliminate Jesus. They used force to capture Him. Then they tried Him after sunset when it was illegal to hold a trial. Next they used slander and lies to charge Him before Pilate. And finally they used bribery to silence the truth about Him. Despite all this they failed - for the truth will always prevail. It is a fact that lies can never stifle the truth. The Gospel of goodness is greater than the plots of wickedness.
What lesson can we learn from the deceitful behaviour of the chief priests? It tells us that lies don't pay. If you lie you will eventually have to tell more to cover your tracks. And you will have to have a good memory to be consistent with the same lies or people will eventually discover that you are not telling the truth. Lies never pay. Or as Walter Scott puts it, "O what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive".
On Good Friday Peter was scared to admit to a maidservant that he was a disciple of Jesus. But in today's first reading he is speaking to the crowds on Pentecost Sunday not afraid to tell the Jews that they took Jesus and had Him crucified by men outside the Law. What a change the Holy Spirit made in him! Now he can tell them ‘You killed Him, but God raised Him to life.’ Isn’t this telling us that if, like Peter, we give ourselves to the Holy Spirit we never know what He can make of us?
Holy Spirit, change each one of us as You changed Peter. May we always tell the truth and shame the Devil.