"Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed." Mt 28:8
An older translation of Matthew 28:8 told us that the two Mary's were "half overjoyed, half fearful," as they hurried away from the tomb. Like young people newly admitted to a prestigious college, the two women are full of hope and foreboding at the same time. Their dreams have been fulfilled and now they have to live them.
In fact, this is the challenge every Christian faces when the reality of the Resurrection dawns upon us. Even though there is no reason to be afraid, we tremble. Working harder at being a Christian is not the answer, because we cannot earn salvation. It is a pure gift. Asking to be more grateful each day for God's eternal love is the only appropriate response to the Resurrection, and for most of us it is easier to give than receive.
The purity and unconditional nature of God's gift to us in Jesus' resurrection is too much to absorb. We stand naked before God in our failure and sin, and God loves us more than ever. It is only when we turn away from God in shame that we lose sight of God's love. While God stands before us with open arms and heart inviting us to an eternal embrace, we lower our eyes in the self absorbed fear that our sin is bigger than God's love, and in the process, deny God's healing power.
Today, ask God to remove your fear so you can linger in gratitude.
Have you ever known anyone who took time to be grateful every day?