After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’
The story of resurrection according to Matthew is different from that of other evangelists. There are few characters in this gospel: Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, an angel of the Lord, the guards, and Jesus.
The time is the first day of the week was dawning. It is still dark, but light begins to come in the dark. In this sitting, we can sense new life begins at this moment though Jesus continues to lie in the tomb.
Then suddenly there is a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven. The angel is the messenger of God. He acts on God’s command to roll back the stone at the opening of the tomb and sit on it. While the guards shake and become like dead men, the angel says to the women, “Do not be afraid.” What happens here? Do the guards shake and become like dead men because of the earthquake, or the appearing of the angel? Why the angel tells the women do not be afraid? It may be that they all experience the resurrection of Jesus in the tomb when the angel rolls back the stone at the tomb.
How do I feel when I experience resurrection? Would I be afraid like Mary Magdalene and the other Mary? Or, shake and become like dead men as what the guards feel because of their failure to keep Jesus in the tomb? How does God’s messenger comfort me when I experience resurrection?
The two women’s experience of resurrection leads them to announce the good news to others. How Jesus commissions me after I have experienced resurrection? To whom I will share the good news?
In summary, today’s gospel offers rich materials for our meditations. I can enter into the details of the passage and experience my resurrection in the resurrection of Jesus. Amen.