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Monday, March 28, 2005

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Easter Week

Acts 2:14, 22-32
Psalm 16
Matthew 28:8-15

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"we are his witnesses" (acts 2:32)

"Go and carry the news." —Matthew 28:10

In Matthew's Gospel, the first commands Jesus gives to the first people who saw Him after His resurrection are: "Do not be afraid! Go and carry the news" of My resurrection (Mt 28:10). Since His resurrection, Jesus speaks primarily through His witnesses, the members of His body. Shortly before He died, Jesus directed the Jewish leaders to listen to those who have heard Him speak (see Jn 18:21). Now Jesus speaks to the world through the witnesses He has chosen (Acts 10:41). The risen Lord backs up His witnesses with power (Mk 16:17ff) and authority (Lk 10:16). When people don't believe us, His witnesses, Jesus gets upset (Mk 16:14).

The duty of a witness is simple. A witness simply testifies to what they have "heard and seen" (Acts 4:20). The only issue for a witness is whether or not they will speak. Organized crime gets a lot of mileage out of silencing witnesses through fear of death, and so have enemies of Jesus (see Mt 28:12ff). Others sneer at news of the resurrection and insult His witnesses (see Acts 17:18, 32). But Jesus tells us: "Do not be afraid!" (Mt 28:10) Jesus has the ultimate "witness protection" program. He has triumphed over death! Fear and death have "no more power over Him" and His witnesses (Rm 6:9).

Jesus tells us: "You are to be My witnesses" (Acts 1:8). "Do not be afraid. Go on speaking and do not be silenced" (Acts 18:9). "Go and carry the news" (Mt 28:10) that Jesus is risen from the dead and all who believe in Him have eternal life (Jn 3:16).

Prayer:  Risen Jesus, I will abide "in confidence" (Ps 16:9) and not be afraid to tell others about the risen life You offer.

Promise:  "It was impossible that death should keep its hold on [Jesus]." —Acts 2:24

Praise:  Praise the risen Jesus, Who always was, always is, and always will be.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Giles H. Pater, August 18 8, 2004

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 23, 2004