“Do not be Afraid”

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!

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  1. Joe Masterleo on April 16, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    For a historical perspective on the Sacred Feminine in religion, readers might consider “When God Was a Woman,” the title of a 1976 book by feminist sculptor and art historian Merlin Stone. In preparation to complete this work, Stone spent roughly 10 years engaged in research of the lesser-known, sometimes hidden (and suppressed) depictions of the Sacred Feminine, from European and Middle Eastern societies. The book lends a rich, scholarly and informative perspective on how societies grew to their present imbalanced state along patriarchal lines.

  2. Kathleen on April 16, 2020 at 11:40 am

    Thank you!

  3. Rev Edward Thayer on April 15, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    Thank you Ilia, blessings and peace in the name of Jesus. I hope and pray you and yours are ok in the midst of the pandemic. I preached my Resurrection Sunday sermon on Mary’s witness. She could not believe, could not even raise her eyes to see Jesus’ face, until she heard him call her name, ‘Mary”. Peter and John witnessed the miracle of the empty tomb, but Mary beheld the risen Christ, not in his glory, but still in his humility, still her teacher, her loving, forgiving Savior, and her Lord. May our Gracious God bring us peace and understanding.

    My son William Thayer graduated from Villanova in in 2007. I doubt you had any exchange with him. He was a Political Science major. I so appreciate the work of the Omega Center. Perhaps someday I can draw closer.

  4. Kevin McNally on April 15, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    In what sense ‘miraculous’?

  5. Omega Center on April 15, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Veronica, thank you for those kinds words, we will send them to Ilia! You can order her Emergent Christ book here: https://amzn.to/2sysBCZ. Thank you so much for your support!

  6. Veronica Guerra on April 15, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    Beautifully said, Sister Illa. Where can I order a copy of your book, The Emergent Christ?

  7. Carol Roberts on April 15, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    Yes. Yes. Several years ago I accepted creating a 10th station of the cross at our community church. I went deep into the gospel accounts of the tomb. It really sank into my soul how courageous these two women were. They believed what they experienced. Such faith. Such joy. Even in this fearful situation.

  8. Renou on April 14, 2020 at 7:44 am

    Prophetic words by Teilhard de Chardin:”Some day, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness… the energies of love. And then, for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire”.
    With Pope Francis, you are on the way to renew our Church.
    Another quotation from THE TABLET by Jurgen Moltmann who would have said when he was interviewed: “He will lose the women and without the women you cannot keep the Church alive”.
    Michel. Renou

  9. Edmund J. Zampier on April 13, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    Ilia,I have been immersed for days and weeks in everything I can find online. In my estimation, you have surpassed Teilhard. My dear wife Anna ordered two of your books. One of them was “The Emergent Christ,” which I found scintillating. We have ordered two more of your books.


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