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Hope in the Resurrection—Embracing Matthew 28:6

Caitlin Bean
February 8, 2024

“He is not here; for he has risen, as he said” (Matthew 28:6). These words, uttered by the angel to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary on Easter Sunday, heralds an unparalleled hope that transforms sorrow into joy, doubt into certainty. Truly, this is one of the most hope-filled verses in all of Scripture. In this moment, we realize that what God had promised throughout the ages and what Jesus foretold and promised during His earthly ministry, has been fulfilled. Indeed, we have a God who keeps His promises, who defeats the power of sin, and who conquers death. We have a God we can hope in, for He is truly who He says He is. 

As Christians, the resurrection of Jesus is “the crowning truth of our faith in Christ.”[1] Saint Paul even goes so far as to say that, “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14). To believe in the mystery of the resurrection, and its implications, is to hope in the promise of salvation. As Saint Peter writes, “We have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). 

Thus, in the midst of our Good Fridays, when the world is dark, when our cross seems too heavy to bear, when our suffering is excruciating, and when it appears that death has won—we must harken back to the words of the angel. The empty tomb, proclaimed in Matthew 28:6, is the catalyst for the realization that the worst is not the end, and that God can transform sorrow into joy and death into new life.

Of course, in the midst of such heartache, hope can seem impossible. And it would be, were it not for God’s graciousness. This theological virtue is a gift from God, infused into our souls at Baptism so that we can find our way back to Him and inherit eternal life.[2] It allows us to desire heaven and trust in God’s promises.[3] As we grow in our desire for God and the ways of God, as we devote our time to prayer, this virtue is further strengthened.[4] By nourishing our hope, we are kept from discouragement and despair, preserved from selfishness, sustained during times of abandonment, and we are able to rejoice even amidst suffering, trial, and tribulation.[5] 

The assertion, “He is not here; for he has risen, as he said” (Matthew 28:6), reminds us that God’s Word, and all of His many promises, are not merely empty words but a firm foundation that is worthy of our hope and trust. In a world that is so often devoid of hope, caught in the chains of fear, and enthralled by the culture of death, this verse offers a balm to our souls and a beacon of light in the darkness. 

Rejoice, my dear sister, and take heart, for the same power that raised Jesus from the grave is at work in your life, too (Romans 8:11).

[1] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd edition (Vatican: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2012), #638.
[2] Ibid, #1813.
[3] Ibid, #1817.
[4] Ibid, #1820.
[5] Ibid, #1819,1820.


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