So concludes Matthew’s account of the Gospel- the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel has three distinct episodes: the Resurrection of Jesus (vv. 1-10); the reporting of the guards (vv. 11-15); and then Jesus commissioning the 11 Apostles [Matthias was not yet chosen to replace Judas] (vv. 16-20).
A few insights here. It is to 2 women that Jesus first appears after his Resurrection. In this case, it is Mary Magdalen and “the other Mary” (v. 1) who become the first bearers of the Good News. They run to his 11 Apostles and tell them: Jesus Christ has risen from the Dead.
A few reflections on the Resurrection event. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the Resurrection is both a historical and a transcendental event (cf. CCC 638-655 [these are paragraph, and not page, numbers])
The evidence of the Resurrection is the empty tomb, the testimony of the women, our Lord’s own prophecy about himself, and the appearances of the Lord to his Apostles and Disciples. Whether or not we believe that the evidence means he was raised from the dead is strictly a matter of Faith.
The fact that no one saw the Resurrection (remember, the guards fainted at the tomb [v. 4], so they didn’t see anything), and none of the evangelists were eye witnesses, it remains a great mystery as to how God raised the body of Jesus from the dead.
At the end of this final chapter, Jesus met his 11 Apostles in Galilee (where all this first started) and gave them the great commission: “Go therefore and make disciples… baptizing them… teaching them…”(vv. 19-20). A mission that is still carried on today in ways big ad small by all sorts of peoples in all places and times around the world and throughout history.
And thanks be to God, we’re not at this by ourselves. We have as our ultimate guide and model and teacher and leader: Jesus Christ. Who promises us, the end of the Matthew’s Gospel, “…Behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (v. 20).
Point for Prayer
“Risen Jesus, you fill me with hope and songs of alleluias. You convince me there is a future full of promise. You have conquered the world’s worst evils- sin and death. I praise and thank you with all my heart. Alleluia! Amen!” (from McBride, The Kingdom and the Glory).