VOICE FROM THE SOUTH
By FR. EMETERIO BARCELON, SJ
The Lord has risen to save us from sin. Our joy is great for we have conquered death and sin. It is a spiritual joy that brings happiness to us. After Jesus was murdered openly in a most cruel way we reap the results of conquering death. We now have the hope that death has no power over us and that we will enjoy the company of Jesus and His saints in heaven. The resurrection of our Lord is our pledge that we have conquered death and all the evils of this world. Jesus has paid for our sins as well as the sins of Adam and our forefathers. This is an unjust world if there were not a next world to right the wrongs of this world.
On the record it was to Mary Magdalene that He first appeared. What joy it was to realize that her beloved had risen from the dead. At first she thought it was a gardener she was speaking to. She begged him to tell her where he had disposed of the body of Jesus and she would retrieve Him. Then the stranger pronounced her name. So Mary of Mandala recognized it was the Lord and she clung to Him so that He had to tell her to let go for He still had to go to His Father. But many speculate that this was not the first apparition. It must have been to His mother who suffered the most by His crucifixion. What a joy it must have been for both to be reunited to Mary His mother.
There were about six or seven apparitions that were recorded. The first is to Many of Mandala then to two disciples on the way to Emmaus, then to the Apostles, once without Thomas and a week later with doubting Thomas who declared “My Lord and my God.” Then two apparitions in Galilee. The first was when he helped them catch fish after an unsuccessful night of fishing and ate breakfast with some of the Apostles. In the second there were about 500 followers who watched Him say good bye and ascend into heaven. It was a joyful departure. Unlike most departures which are sad and sorrowful, this was joyful. It was the joy because of His promise that He would send the Holy Spirit to guide them and protect them.
These apparitions were spread over 40 days after the crucifixion. It was a period filled with joy. Joy that goes beyond happiness. This is the joy that is promised us in the next world. The joy that is ever new. We will never get bored with the joy of heaven. It is ever new and fulfilling. We too need to rejoice at the triumph of the Lord over sin suffering and death. He did not save his followers from the dominion of the Roman Empire but opened the membership to His Kingdom of Heaver here on earth.
We do not have to be members of the Jewish family to belong to His family. All we have to do to belong to His family is to be baptized with water in the name of the Trinity. Our joy is assured as we belong to His Church here on earth and in the next world.