Christ is Risen from the dead! And who did Christ first appear to upon rising from the dead, according to Matthew? Not to Peter or any of the twelve apostles but to two women each with the name of Mary. Imagine that! The greatest event in the history of the cosmos–a miraculous event that defied the laws of nature–was first seen and bore witness to by women. Did the Trinity form a commission and decide this was the safest route, given the men disciples abandoned Jesus in his most needed hour (not to mention Judas’ betrayal)? Or is it simply that the women believed and trusted the message of the angel, “Do not be afraid,” while “the guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men.” Women steeped in faith, attentive to what they heard, acted on the words spoken to them and went out to preach the Good News to the disciples: “He has been raised from the dead!”
Never underestimate faith and the power of love. The women were first to believe, first to preach, first to proclaim Christ is Risen! “Fearful yet overjoyed, they ran to announce this to his disciples.” This is the beginning of the Church: two women saw an empty tomb, heard the words of life and were sent to announce the Good News. Unless we pay attention, Christ is not really raised from the dead. Women do not belong to the Church, the Church belongs to women. Hard to get our heads around but do not be afraid!