Feast of the Vigil of Easter

Apr 7, 2020 | Gospel Reflections

Matthew 28:1-10

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Agnes Nelson, SNDdeN

There are really two stories in this Gospel. In the first we hear about the soldiers who were so overcome with fear that they seemed like corpses. The women too were afraid but the angel is quite strong: “You must not be afraid because you were looking for Jesus.” They had experienced a terrible ending, a crucifixion, but they were about to learn that all endings have new beginnings.

Jesus, I think, is saying to us on this Easter Vigil that if there are fears and anxieties in our lives then we must open our eyes and see Him in them. He is there. Always. We just have to look. We must hear these words addressed to ourselves, “Do not be afraid.” The Risen Jesus is alive today infusing us with His vital energy. We must joyfully sense that Presence in the goodness and kindness and beauty around us – a foretaste of the infinite.

In the second part of the Gospel Jesus actually “runs into” the women as they are running to tell the others their good news. It is almost impossible to read this story without a smile or to see Jesus laughing as he greets his friends. If we listen, he is saying, “Rejoice,” or “Good morning,” or Greetings” depending on what translation you read – all so natural and beautiful and homely.

How many people will we meet today?
How many people will take us by surprise as they greet us?
In how many people will we see the smiling face of Christ?
Will others see that smiling Christ in us?
If we are in isolation, how many people can we bring to mind whose faces have been filled with kindness and goodness towards us?

Let us be joyful and glad and sing Alleluia.

Matthew 28:1-10

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning,
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
And behold, there was a great earthquake;
for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven,
approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.
His appearance was like lightning
and his clothing was white as snow.
The guards were shaken with fear of him
and became like dead men.
Then the angel said to the women in reply,
“Do not be afraid!
I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.
He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.
Come and see the place where he lay.
Then go quickly and tell his disciples,
‘He has been raised from the dead,
and he is going before you to Galilee;
there you will see him.’
Behold, I have told you.”
Then they went away quickly from the tomb,
fearful yet overjoyed,
and ran to announce this to his disciples.
And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee,
and there they will see me.”

The Gospel of the Lord

Sister Agnes Nelson entered the Congregation in 1965. She taught in Primary and Secondary Schools and worked for four years in a Family Learning Unit. Then from 1983-84 she studied the SPRED Method – a catechetical programme for children and adults with developmental disabilities in Chicago. Agnes returned to Scotland and has been involved in SPRED ever since. The work is amazingly life-giving despite the uphill struggle to support these people, and their families, to take their rightful place in the parish community. Training the catechists, who are all volunteers, is a delight. Scotland has proved to be a rich soil for this ministry as SPRED is now established in five dioceses and at present there is outreach to England and Malta. Malta SPRED has now been established from Glasgow.