Monday 1 April 2024

Easter Reflection 2024 (Contribution)

Those women at the tomb - Presentation Sisters Union North East Ireland

This Easter, as you walk around saying “Christ is Risen,” I would like to propose a new liturgical response other than, “He is risen indeed. Alleluia.” I think we should change it to, “As the women told us. Alleluia!”

The fact that women are barred from the priesthood is absurd on multiple levels, beginning with that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is quite literally the first priest and original chalice to carry the body and blood of Jesus and that the first blood Jesus spilt was in conjunction with the Theotokos when the umbilical cord was cut. 
The whole function of the priesthood is to bring forth the body and blood of Christ. I wonder who did that first? Mary’s womb first held the body and blood of Christ. The priest is supposed to present the body of Christ to the people, and, you guessed it, Mary did that first, too.
But one of the most bizarre head-scratchers of them all is the story of the resurrection.
Jesus dies on Good Friday, and his disciples scatter. 
Judas betrayed Jesus and then made an early exit. 
Peter flat-out denied even knowing the guy, not once, but THRICE! (Ew, Peter!) 
The entire apostle boys club hides out for fear of what might happen to them (Mark 14:50, Matt 26:56, John 20:19). 
They are literally cowering behind locked doors, afraid that at any moment, they too will be arrested. 
This isn’t novel information, most of us were told in Sunday School that Jesus’ friends abandoned him after his death, but this isn’t true. His fair-weather friends abandoned him, but those who truly cared stuck it out. 
Enter the first Evangelist of the Gospel: Mary Magdalene.
While the fishermen turned fishers of men are holed up in some bunker sh+tting themselves, the women folk are reading to go face down the Roman guards at the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body. 
I cannot stress enough that the dudes are literally hiding from the cops, and these ladies are hiking up their skirts and just walking right into the thick of it. 
The women arrive at the tomb, and Jesus isn’t there. At first, there is some commotion, but eventually, Jesus is all, “jk, it’s me; I’ve come back from the dead. Go and tell everyone I’m alive.” 
So Mary Magdalene and all the other Marys head to go tell the apostles. Which, I assume, means they had to do all their secret knocks so that these cowards open the door, and they are all, “Good news: Jesus is alive!”
(sidebar: Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute. Not that there is any problem with being one; SW is real work. But it’s just factually inaccurate. Long story short, some Pope mistakenly attributed this profession to her, and it stuck. In reality, Mary Magdalene was an independently wealthy woman and a benefactor of Jesus.)
Now, here is the kicker: they don’t believe them. Yes, eventually, Peter and John have a running contest to see who can get to the tomb first, but overall, the first reaction is disbelief. This whole disbelieving thing just keeps moving around even to the most notorious of disbelievers, poor ol’ Thomas (we will get to him later in the series). 
But what really grinds my gears about the whole Easter story is that after a woman is the first priest and women who are the first evangelists and preachers, these no-good hiding, back-stabbing traitors have the audacity to turn around to these women and essentially say, “alright ladies, we will take it from here” and then just straight up cut them out of the whole priesthood thing.
If Mary Magdalene had listened to the likes of Paul with his whole, “I do not permit women to preach blah blah blah my wife left me, so I’m taking it out on all women” nonsense, then not a single motherf***er would even know Jesus was alive. 
But thanks to Mary Magdalene, we do know. 
This earned her the title: Apostles to the Apostles.
For nearly two thousand years, Christians have celebrated Easter; for most of that time, it has been exclusively men standing behind the pulpit and altar proclaiming the Good News that Christ is risen, but they only know that because of a woman. The body of Christ is only present because of a woman. If anything, every Easter Sunday service around the world should be exclusively preached by women.
This Easter, as you walk around saying “Christ is Risen,” I would like to propose a new liturgical response other than, “He is risen indeed. Alleluia.” 
I think we should change it to, “As the women told us. Alleluia!”
* Father Nathan Monk