The Same Old Lies
Thomas A. Droleskey
And in the end of the sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalen and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre. And behold there was a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him, the guards were struck with terror, and became as dead men. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not you; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.
He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, and see the place where the Lord was laid. And going quickly, tell ye his disciples that he is risen: and behold he will go before you into Galilee; there you shall see him. Lo, I have foretold it to you. And they went out quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy, running to tell his disciples. And behold Jesus met them, saying: All hail. But they came up and took hold of his feet, and adored him. Then Jesus said to them: Fear not. Go, tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, there they shall see me.
Who when they were departed, behold some of the guards came into the city, and told the chief priests all things that had been done. And they being assembled together with the ancients, taking counsel, gave a great sum of money to the soldiers, Saying: Say you, His disciples came by night, and stole him away when we were asleep. And if the governor shall hear this, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they taking the money, did as they were taught: and this word was spread abroad among the Jews even unto this day.(Mt. 28: 1-15)
People are still "taking money" nearly two thousand years after Our Lord's Bodily Resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday to spread the false story that the Body of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was stolen by His Apostles and buried elsewhere than it had been on Good Friday in the tomb that had been hewn out of stone by Joseph of Arimathea, "a disciple of Jesus,
but secretly for fear of the Jews" (Jn. 19: 38).This time it is a Hollywood producer, whose name will no be mentioned here as it is evident that the poor, sad man is desperate for publicity for a "documentary" about the lie he his spreading anew, who is claiming that the Body of Our Lord has been "found," replete with markings to identify Him as the Son of Mary.
Leaving aside all of the forensic evidence that even secular experts are using to discredit this lie, which has its origins from the devil himself, anyone with a modicum of common sense would have to conclude that the Apostles were pretty stupid if they wanted to go the all of the the trouble of "stealing" Our Lord's Body in order to perpetrate a "hoax" about His Resurrection while at the same time carefully marking His Holy Name on a coffin. This is renascent of the sort of the stupidity exhibited by the brother of a former student of mine from Nassau Community College when he was arrested for burglarizing a neighbor's home. The fellow, who spent his life on hallucinogenic drugs, was seen walking down the neighborhood with his stash of purloined goods, oblivious to the fact that he was easily identifiable by the simple fact that he was wearing a high school football jersey with his last name emblazoned with his last name on the top of the back of the jersey. Those responsible for producing the hoax of the "coffin" of Our Lord would have us believe that the Apostles were just that stupid.
Apart from all of the proofs of Our Lord's Bodily Resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday, those who are still seeking to spread the lie that was first spread by the Pharisees when they discovered that His tomb was empty and that there had been reports of His being seen by His Apostles must overlook the simple fact that those same Apostles were willing to give up their very lives to bear a visible, tangible witness to His actual, Bodily Resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday, manifesting forth His victory over the power of sin and eternal death by having paid back the debt of Adam's sin by shedding every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross on Good Friday. Why would perpetrators of a "hoax" be willing to give up their lives unless that had seen the Risen Jesus and had been commissioned by Him to do the following before He Ascended to the Father's right hand in glory on Ascension Thursday, forty days after His Bodily Resurrection from the dead?
Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. (Mt. 28: 19-20)
Why would Saint Peter run the risk of martyrdom by proclaiming these words after the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Ghost, had descended upon the Twelve Apostles and Our dear Blessed Mother in the same Upper Room in Jerusalem on Pentecost Sunday where Our Lord had instituted the priesthood and the Eucharist some fifty-three days before?
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him, in the midst of you, as you also know: This same being delivered up, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you by the hands of wicked men have crucified and slain. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the sorrows of hell, as it was impossible that he should be holden by it. For David saith concerning him: I foresaw the Lord before my face: because he is at my right hand, that I may not be moved.
For this my heart hath been glad, and any tongue hath rejoiced: moreover my flesh also shall rest in hope. Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor suffer thy Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life: thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Ye men, brethren, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David; that he died, and was buried; and his sepulchre is with us to this present day. Whereas therefore he was a prophet, and knew that God hath sworn to him with an oath, that of the fruit of his loins one should sit upon his throne.
Foreseeing this, he spoke of the resurrection of Christ. For neither was he left in hell, neither did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised again, whereof all we are witnesses. Being exalted therefore by the right hand of God, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath poured forth this which you see and hear. For David ascended not into heaven; but he himself said: The Lord said to my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy enemies thy footstool.
Therefore let all the house of Israel know most certainly, that God hath made both Lord and Christ, this same Jesus, whom you have crucified.Now when they had heard these things, they had compunction in their heart, and said to Peter, and to the rest of the apostles: What shall we do, men and brethren? But Peter said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are far off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call. And with very many other words did he testify and exhort them, saying: Save yourselves from this perverse generation.
They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about three thousand souls. And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: many wonders also and signs were done by the apostles in Jerusalem, and there was great fear in all. And all they that believed, were together, and had all things common. Their possessions and goods they sold, and divided them to all, according as every one had need. (Acts 2: 21-45)
Yes, Saint Peter actually preached openly in the street corners, placing himself physically at risk to seek the conversion of the Jews by preaching the Gospel of the Crucified and Resurrected Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Imagine that. The first Pope knew that such boldness could merit him death at the hands of the Jews. Faithful to the One He had seen on Easter Sunday and Whose visible head of Catholic Church he knew himself to be, Saint Peter did what Catholics are supposed to do: proclaim the truths of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ without fear of the consequences, understanding that those who die while doing so can do more from eternity to pass on the Catholic Faith, the one and only true Faith, than they ever could while here physically on the face of the earth.
The Hollywood producer and his cohorts also have to reckon with why Saul of Tarsus, the fire-breathing hater of the Gentiles who presided over the stoning of the first Catholic martyr, Saint Stephen the Protomartyr, who was engaged in disputation with Jews of the synagogue of "the Libertines, and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia" (Acts 6:9). Saul was converted when he heard these words from the Lord Jesus Himself as we was on the way to Damascus to persecute yet another band of Catholics:
Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Who said: Who art thou, Lord? And he: I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the goad. (Acts 9: 4-5)
The Twelve Apostles and their original disciples, joined later by Saint Paul, the former Saul of Tarsus, would never have risked their lives to perpetrate a hoax that could have been proved by the very "markings" they were said to have left on the "coffin" of the One they claimed had risen from the dead on Easter Sunday. As was the case with Our Lord, Who was either Who He said He was, that is, God in the Flesh, or stark, raving mad (no sane man claims to be God when he is not), the Apostles were either proclaiming the truth or they were delusional. The scenario of the "stolen Body" does not explain why men, who had nothing to gain in earthly terms from putting their liberty and their lives at risk, would go to the far ends of the earth and sacrifice everything they owned in order to preach as they did.
As the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen noted all of this in his The Life of Christ (New York: Image Press, Doubleday Books, 1958):
In the history of the world, only one tomb has ever had a rock rolled before it, and a soldier guard set to watch it to prevent the dead man within from rising: that was the tomb of Christ on the evening of the Friday called Good. What spectacle could be more ridiculous than armed soldiers keeping their eyes on a corpse? But sentinels were set, lest the Dead walk, the Silent speak, and the Pierced Heart quicken to the throb of life. They said He was dead; they knew He was dead; they would say He would not rise again; and yet they watched! They openly called Him a deceiver. But, would He still deceive? Would He, Who "deceived" them into believing they won the battle, Himself win the war for life and truth and love? They remembered that He called His Body the Temple and that in three days after they destroyed It, He would rebuild It; they recalled, too, that He compared Himself to Jonah and said that as Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days, so would He be in the belly of the earth for three days and then would rise again. After three days Abraham received back his son Isaac, who was offered in sacrifice, for three days Egypt was in a darkness that was not of nature; on the third day God came down on Mount Sinai. Now, once again, there was worry about the third day. Early Saturday morning, therefore, the chief priests and the Pharisees broke the Sabbath and presented themselves to Pilate, saying:
Your Excellency, we recall how that impostor said while He was still alive, I am to rise after three days. So will you give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day? Otherwise His disciples may come, steal the body, and then tell the people that He has been raised from the dead; and the final deception will be worse than the first. (Matthew 27: 63, 64)
Their request for a guard until the "third day" had more reference to Christ's words about His Resurrection than it did to the fear of the Apostles stealing a corpse and propping it up like a living thing in simulation of a Resurrection. But Pilate was in no mood to see this group, for they were the reason why he had condemned Innocent Blood. He had made his own official investigation that Christ was dead; he would not submit to the absurdity of using Caesar's armies to guard a dead Jew. Pilate said to them:
You may have your guard, go and make it secure as best you can. (Matthew 27: 65)
The watch was to prevent violence; the seal was to prevent fraud. There must be a seal, and the enemies would seal it. There must be a watch, and the enemies must keep it. The certificates of the death and Resurrection must be signed by the enemies themselves. The Gentiles were satisfied through nature that Christ was dead; the Jews were satisfied through the Law that He was dead.
So they went and made the grave secure; they sealed the stone, and left the guard in charge. (Matthew 27: 66)
The King lay in state with His guard about Him. The most astounding fact about this spectacle of vigilance over the dead was that the enemies of Christ expected the Resurrection, but His friends did not. It was the believers who were the skeptics; it was the unbelievers who were credulous. His followers needed and demanded proofs before they would be convinced. In the three great scenes of the Resurrection drama, there was a note of sadness and unbelief. The first scene was that of a weeping Magdalen who came to the grave early in the morning with spices, not to greet the Risen Savior, but to anoint His dead Body.
In the dim dawn of Sunday morning several women were seen approaching the tomb. The very fact that the women brought spices proved that they did not expect a Resurrection. It seemed strange that such should have been the case after the many references by Our Lord to His death and His Resurrection. But evidently the disciples as well as the women, whenever He predicted His Passion, seemed to remember more His death than His Resurrection. It never occurred to them as a possible thing; it was foreign to their thoughts. When the stone was rolled to the door of the sepulcher, not only was Christ buried but also all of their hopes. The only thought the women had was to anoint the body of the dead Christian act that was born of despairing and as yet unbelieving love. Two of them, at least, had witnessed the burial; hence their great concern was the practical act
Who would roll away the stone for them from the entrance to the tomb. (Mark 16: 3)
It was the cry of hearts of little faith. Strong men had closed the entrance to the tomb by placing this huge stone against it; their worry was how to remove the barrier in order that they might carry out their errand of mercy. The men would not come to the tomb until they were summoned------so little did they believe. But the women came, only because in their grief they sought consolation in embalming the dead. Nothing is more antihistorical than to say that the pious women were expecting Christ to rise from the dead. The Resurrection was something they never expected. Their minds were not made up of the kind of material on which such expectations could grow.
But as they approached, they found the stone rolled back. Before their arrival, there had been a great earthquake, and an Angel of the Lord, who descended from Heaven, rolled back the stone and sat upon it:
His face shone like lightning; his garments were white as snow. At the sight of him the guards shook with fear and lay like the dead. (Matthew 28: 4)
When the women came near they saw that the stone, great as it was, had been rolled away already. Instead of the dead Body of their Master, they saw an Angel, whose countenance was as lightning and his raiment as snow and who said to them:
Fear nothing; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified. He has been raised again; He is not here; look there is the place where they laid Him. But go and give this message to His disciples and Peter: He is going on before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He told you. (Mark 16: 6-8)
To an Angel, the Resurrection would not be a mystery, but His death would be. For man, His death was not a mystery, but His Resurrection would be. What had been natural to the Angel, therefore, was now made the subject of the announcement. The Angel was one keeper more than the enemies had placed about the Savior's grave, one soldier more than Pilate had appointed.
The Angel's words were the first Gospel preached after the Resurrection, and it is the one that went back to His Passion, for the Angel spoke of Him, as "Jesus of Nazareth Who was crucified." These words conveyed the name of His humanity, the humility of His dwelling place, and the ignominy of His death; in all three, lowliness, ignominy, and shame are brought in comparison with His rising from the dead. Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Jerusalem are all made the identifying marks of His Resurrection.
The Angel's words: "Here is the place where they laid Him," confirmed the reality of His death and the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies. Tombstones bear the inscription: Hic facet or "Here lies." Then follows the name of the dead and perhaps some praise of the one departed. But here in contrast, the Angel did not write, but expressed a different epitaph: "He is not here." The Angel called on the women to behold the place where their Lord's Body had been laid, as though the vacant tomb was evidence enough of the fact of the Resurrection. They were directed to hasten immediately and give intelligence of the Resurrection. It was to a virgin woman that the birth of the Son of God was announced. It was to a fallen woman that His Resurrection was announced.
Those who saw the empty grave were bidden to go to Peter who had tempted Our Blessed Lord once from the Cross and had three times denied Him. Sin and denial could not choke Divine love. Paradoxical though it was, the greater the sin, the less the belief; and yet the greater the repentance from sin, the greater the belief. It was to the lost sheep panting in the wilderness that He came; it was the publicans and the harlots, the denying Peters and the persecuting Pauls to whom the most persuasive entreaties of love were sent. To the man who was named a Rock and who would have tempted Christ from a Cross, the Angel now sent through the women the message, "Go tell Peter."
The same individualizing prominence given to Peter in the public life was continued in the Resurrection. But though Peter was mentioned here with the Apostles of whom he was the head, the Lord appeared to Peter alone before He revealed Himself to the disciples at Emmaus. This was evident from the fact that later on the disciples would say that He appeared to Peter. The glad news of Redemption was thus given to a woman who had fallen and to an Apostle who had denied; but both of whom had repented.
Mary Magdalen, who had in the darkness moved ahead of her companions, noticed that the stone had already been rolled to one side, while the entrance stood wide open. A quick glance revealed that the grave was empty. Her first thought was of the Apostles, Peter and John, to whom she ran in excitement. According to Mosaic Law a woman was ineligible to bear witness. But Mary did not bring them tidings of the Resurrection; she was not expecting it. She assumed that He was still under the power of death, as she told Peter and John:
They have taken the Lord out of His tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him. (John 20: 2)
Out of all the disciples and followers there were only five "watching:" three women and two men, like the five in the parable who awaited the coming of the Bridegroom. All of them were without suspicion of the Resurrection.
In their excitement both Peter and John ran to the sepulcher, thus leaving Mary far behind. John was the better runner of the two, and arrived there first. When Peter arrived, they both went into the sepulcher, where they saw linen cloths lying about, as well as the veil they had put on the head of Jesus; but this was not with the linen cloths; but was wrapped up by itself. What had taken place was done decently and in order, not by a thief nor even a friend. The Body was gone from the tomb; the original bindings around His Body were found in their convolutions. If the disciples had stolen the body, they would not in their haste have unwrapped it and left the linen cloths. Christ had risen out of them by His Divine power. Peter and John:
Until then they had not understood the scriptures, which showed that He must rise from the dead. (Jn. 20: 9)
They had the facts and the evidence of the Resurrection; but they did not yet understand its full meaning. The Lord now began the first of His eleven recorded appearances between His Resurrection and Ascension: sometimes to His Apostles, at other times to five hundred brethren at once, at some other times to the women. The first appearance was to Mary Magdalen, who returned to the sepulcher after Peter and John had left it. The idea of the Resurrection did not seem to enter her mind either, though she herself had risen from a tomb sealed by the seven devils of sin. Finding the tomb empty, she broke again into a fountain of tears. With her eyes cast down as the brightness of the early sunrise swept over the dew-covered grass, she vaguely perceived someone near her who asked:
Why are you weeping? (Jn. 20: 13)
She was weeping for what was lost, but His question took away the curse of tears by bidding her to stop her tears. She said:
They have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have laid him. (Jn. 20: 14)
There was no terror at seeing the Angels, for the world on fire could not have moved her, so much had grief mastered her soul. When she had said this, she turned and saw Jesus standing; and she knew not that it was He. She thought He was the gardener------the gardener of Joseph of Arimathea.
Believing this man might know where the Lost One could be found, Mary Magdalen went down on her knees and asked:
If it is you, sir, who removed Him, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away. (Jn. 20: 15)
Poor Magdalen! Worn from Good Friday, wearied by Holy Saturday, with life dwindled to a shadow and strength weakened to a thread, she would "take Him away." Three times did she speak of "Him" without defining His name. The force of love was such as to suppose no one else could possibly be meant.
Jesus said to her:
Mary! (Jn. 20: 15)
That voice was more startling than a clap of thunder. She had once heard Jesus say that He called His sheep by name. And now to that One, Who individualized all the sin, sorrow, and tears in the world and marked each soul with a personal, particular, and discriminating love, she turned, seeing the red livid marks on His hands and feet, she uttered but one word:
Rabbuni! (Jn. 20:16) (which is the Hebrew for "master").
Christ had uttered "Mary" and all Heaven was in it. It was only one word she uttered. and all earth was in it. After the mental midnight, there was this dazzle; after hours of hopelessness, this hope; after the search, this discovery; after the loss, this find. Magdalen was prepared only to shed reverential tears over the grave; what she was not prepared for was to see Him walking on the wings of the morning.
Only purity and sinlessness could welcome the all holy Son of God into the world; hence, Mary Immaculate met Him at the door of earth in the city of Bethlehem. But only a repentant sinner, who had herself risen from the grave of sin to the newness of life in God, could fittingly understand the triumph over sin. To the honor of womanhood it must forever be said: A woman was closest to the Cross on Good Friday, and first at the tomb on Easter Morn.
Mary was always at His feet. She was there as she anointed Him for burial; she was there as she stood at the Cross; now in joy at seeing the Master, she threw herself at His feet to embrace them.
But He said to her with a restraining gesture:
Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. (Jn. 20:17)
Her tender tokens of affection were directed to Him more as the Son of Man than as the Son of God. Hence He bade her not to touch Him. St. Paul would have to give the Corinthians and Colossians the same lesson:
Even if once they counted in our understanding of Christ, they do so now no longer. (2 Cor. 5: 6)
Let your thoughts dwell on that higher realm, not on this earthly life. I repeat, you died; and now your life lies hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3: 2)
Her tears, He suggested, were to be dried not because she had seen Him again, but because He was the Lord of Heaven. When He had ascended to the right hand of the Father, which signified the Father's power; when He would send the Spirit of Truth, Who would be their new Comforter and His inner Presence, then indeed would she truly have Him for Whom she yearned------the risen glorified Christ. It was His first hint, after His Resurrection, at the new relationship He would have with men, of which He spoke so fluently the night of the Last Supper. He would have to give the same lesson to His disciples, who were too preoccupied with His human form, by telling them that it was expedient for Him to leave. Magdalen wished to be with Him as she was before the Crucifixion, forgetting that the Crucifixion was endured for glory and for the sending of His Spirit.
Though the Magdalen was humbled by this prohibition of Our Savior, she nevertheless was destined to feel the exaltation of bearing tidings of His Resurrection. The men had grasped the significance of the empty tomb, but not its relation to Redemption and victory over sin and evil. She was to break the precious alabaster box of His Resurrection so that its perfume might fill the world. He said to her:
Go to my brothers and tell them that I am now ascending to my Father and your Father, my God and your God. (Jn. 20: 17)
This was the first time He ever called His Apostles "My Brethren." Before man could be an adopted son of God, he had to be redeemed from enmity with God.
In truth, in very truth I tell you, a grain of wheat remains a solitary grain unless it falls into the ground and dies; but if it dies, it bears a rich harvest. (Jn. 12: 24)
He took the Crucifixion to multiply His Sonship into other sons of God. But there would be a vast difference between Himself as the natural Son and human beings, who through His Spirit would become the adopted sons. Hence, as always, He made a rigid distinction between "My Father" and "Your Father." Never once in His life did He say "Our Father" as if the relationship were the same between Himself and men; His relation to the Father was unique and incommunicable; Sonship was by nature His; only by grace and adoption were men sons of God:
The Son does not shrink from calling men his brothers, when he says, I will proclaim Thy name to My brothers; in full assembly I will sing Thy praise. (Heb. 2: 11)
Nor did He tell Mary to inform the Apostles that He was risen but rather that He would ascend. The Resurrection was implied in the Ascension, which was as yet forty days off. His purpose was not just to stress that He who had died was now alive, but that this was the beginning of a spiritual Kingdom which would become visible and unified when He sent His Spirit.
Obediently, Mary Magdalen hastened to the disciples who were "mourning and weeping." She told them she had seen the Lord and the words He had spoken to her. What reception did her tidings receive? Once again, skepticism, doubt, and unbelief. The Apostles had heard Him speak in figure, symbol, parable, and straightforward speech of the Resurrection which would follow His death, but:
When they were told that he was alive and that she had seen him they did not believe it. (Mk. 16: 11)
Eve believed the serpent; but the disciples did not believe the Son of God. As for Mary Magdalen and any other woman who might tell of His Resurrection:
The story appeared to them to be nonsense, and they would not believe them. (Lk. 24: 11)
It was a forecast of the way the world would receive the news of Redemption. Mary Magdalen and the other women did not at first believe in the Resurrection; they had to be convinced. Neither did the Apostles believe. Their answer was "You know women! Always imagining things." Long before the advent of scientific psychology, people were afraid of their minds playing tricks on them. Modern incredulity in the face of the extraordinary is nothing compared to the skepticism which immediately greeted the first news of the Resurrection. What modem skeptics say about the Resurrection story, the disciples themselves were the first to say, namely, it was an idle tale. As the original agnostics of Christianity, with one assent the Apostles dismissed the whole story as a delusion. Something very extraordinary must happen, and some very concrete evidence must be presented to all of these doubters, before they overcome their reluctance to believe.
Their skepticism was even more difficult than modem skepticism to overcome, because theirs started from a hope that was seemingly disappointed on Calvary; this was far more difficult to heal than a modern skepticism, which is without hope. Nothing could be further from the truth than to say that the followers of Our Blessed Lord were expecting the Resurrection and, therefore, were ready to believe it or to console themselves for a loss that seemed irreparable. No agnostic has written about the Resurrection anything that Peter and the other Apostles had not already had in their own minds.
When Mohammed died, Omar rushed from his tent, sword in hand, and declared that he would kill anyone who said that the Prophet had died. In the case of Christ, there was a readiness to believe that He had died, but a reluctance to believe that He was living. But perhaps they were permitted to doubt, so that the faithful in centuries to come might never be in doubt.
After the women had gone to notify the Apostles, the guards, who had been standing about the tomb, and who were witnesses to the Resurrection, came into the city of Jerusalem and told the chief priests all that had been done. The chief priests immediately assembled a meeting of the Sanhedrin, the express purpose of which was to bribe the guards.
After meeting with the elders and conferring together, the chief priests offered the soldiers a substantial bribe and told them to say, His disciples came by night and stole the body while we were asleep. They added, If this should reach the Governor's ears, we will put matters right with him and see that you do not suffer. So they took the money and did as they were told. This story became widely known, and is current in Jewish circles to this day. (Mt. 28: 12-15)
The "rich bribe" contrasted rather strongly with the meager thirty pieces of silver which Judas received. The Sanhedrin did not deny the Resurrection; in fact, they bore their own unbiased testimony to its truth. And that same testimony they carried to the Gentiles through Pilate. They even gave the money of the temple to the Roman soldiers whom they despised; for they had found a greater hate. The money Judas had returned they would not touch because it was "blood money." But now they would buy a lie to escape the purifying Blood of the Lamb.
The bribery of the guard was really a stupid way to escape the fact of the Resurrection. First of all, there was the problem of what would be done with His Body after the disciples had possession of it. All that the enemies of Our Lord would have had to do to disprove the Resurrection would be to produce the Body. Quite apart from the fact that it was very unlikely that a whole guard of Roman soldiers slept while they were on duty, it was absurd for them to say that what had happened, happened when they were asleep. The soldiers were advised to say they were asleep; and yet they were so awake as to have seen thieves and to know that they were disciples. If all of the soldiers were asleep, they could never have discovered the thieves; if a few of them were awake, they should have prevented the theft. It is equally improbable that a few timid disciples should attempt to steal their Master's Body from a grave closed by stone, officially sealed, and guarded by soldiers without awakening the sleeping guards. The orderly arrangement of the burial cloths afforded further proof that the Body was not removed by His disciples.
The secret removal of the Body would have been to no purpose so far as the disciples were concerned, nor had any of them even thought of it; for the moment, the life of their Master was a failure and a defeat. The crime was certainly greater in the bribers than in the bribed; for, the council was educated and religious; the soldiers were untutored and simple. The Resurrection of Christ was officially proclaimed to the civil authorities; the Sanhedrin believed in the Resurrection before the Apostles. It had bought the kiss of Judas; now it hoped it could buy the silence of the guards.
The former Saul of Tarsus, Saint Paul, proclaimed the Resurrection with great force, explaining that our Faith is in vain if Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ had not risen Bodily from the dead on Easter Sunday:
For whether I, or they, so we preach, and so you have believed. Now if Christ be preached, that he arose again from the dead, how do some among you say, that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen again. And if Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God: because we have given testimony against God, that he hath raised up Christ; whom he hath not raised up, if the dead rise not again.
For if the dead rise not again, neither is Christ risen again. And if Christ be not risen again, your faith is vain, for you are yet in your sins. Then they also that are fallen asleep in Christ, are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, the firstfruits of them that sleep:
For by a man came death, and by a man the resurrection of the dead. And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. But every one in his own order: the firstfruits Christ, then they that are of Christ, who have believed in his coming. Afterwards the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God and the Father, when he shall have brought to nought all principality, and power, and virtue. For he must reign, until he hath put all his enemies under his feet.(1 Cor. 15: 1-25).
We know that Our Lord has risen Bodily from the dead. The pitiful, lame efforts of contemporary charlatans to cast doubt on this fundamental belief of the Catholic Faith is but one of the rotten fruits of the "glories" of the concept of "civil liberty" that has been promoted by the scions of Modernity from the time of the Renaissance. We live in a world in which most people believe that "anything goes," that "error has rights," that is it is "healthy" to "doubt" the truths of the Faith. As Catholics, however, we are called to believe firmly all that God has revealed, as we pray each morning in the Act of Faith:
O my God, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in Three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I believe that Thy Divine Son became Man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.
The "flip side" of "civil liberty," however, is the conciliarist heresy of "religious liberty," the belief that those who have false beliefs do indeed have the "civil right" to propagate their errors in society, thus being able to confuse souls at will. While some in the conciliar structures will denounce the publicity stunt being perpetrated by the Hollywood producer and his cohorts, others in the conciliar structures will defend his "right" to do so, believing that the truths of the Faith must co-exist in the "marketplace of ideas" in our religiously indifferent modern civil state. Some might even believe that our Faith is "strengthened" by "doubt" and that we have an "obligation" to "examine" the "evidence" manufactured by "fakes, phonies, frauds."
Albino Luciani, the conciliar archbishop of Venice before he succeeded the late, corrupt Modernist Paul VI and became John Paul I on August 26, 1978, said the following about how we must see the "goodness" contained in various errors. Fathers Dominic and Francisco Radecki discuss this in
John Paul I is often portrayed as a humble, saintly prelate of the Church. His doctrinal stand was very questionable as evidence by his pastoral letter of 1967 in which he advised his clergy to "see, if instead of uprooting and throwing down [error], it might be possible to trim and prune it patiently, bringing to light the core of goodness and truth which is not often lacking even in erroneous opinions" [Reference 839: Our Sunday Visitor, September 28, 2003, "Celebrating the Smiling Pope," by Lori Pieper.] This is like a doctor telling his patient: "I won't take out all the cancer; it might be good for you.
Sad to note, therefore, ladies and gentlemen, that the "documentary" produced by the Hollywood producer and his sources in the Zionist State of Israel will be given great credence in many, although far from all, conciliar circles, especially in seminaries and universities and colleges. It is quite standard fare in such venues for the actual, Bodily Resurrection of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to be denied quite openly. Conciliar priests and consecrated religious and laymen, both Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who deny the Resurrection of Our Lord remain in perfectly good canonical standing in the conciliar structures. They receive academic tenure and promotions in rank as they deny fundamental truths of the Faith, including the Resurrection. Nothing ever happens to them. Nothing. Indeed, it is not out of the realm of possibility that the "documentary" that has just been released will be shown in conciliar seminaries and universities and colleges. After all, one cannot stifle "academic freedom," can one?
Lest readers believe that I am exaggerating the extent of the denial of the truths of the Faith in the conciliar structures, be advised that a priest in an Eastern diocese, located somewhere East of the Diocese of Brooklyn and to the west of France, said in a sermon during a Novus Ordo weekday "Mass" in 1981 that a seminary professor of his had said the following in a Scripture course: "If you put a camera in front of the tomb from the time of Christ's burial to Easter Sunday you would see nothing. He did not rise from the dead." A monsignor in this same diocese kept saying in 1997 to a lay woman "He did not rise! He did not rise!" as he she hammered him as he hastily concluded an "adult education" lecture at a parish named for a patron saint of rheumatism. Such is the norm, not the exception, in many places in the conciliar structures. Those in the conciliar structures who deny the actual, Bodily Resurrection of Our Blessed Lord are left in their places to deceive and malform souls until they die (or have their clerical careers ended by some scandal).
The same old lies are being told over and over again by the Talmudic Jews and those they pay to their bidding for them. They are being told by many of the conciliarists who enjoy the "official" protection of the counterfeit church of conciliarism. We must, therefore, make reparation for these lies by offering our prayers and penances and fastings and sacrifices this Lent to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary as her consecrated slaves. We must pray for the conversion of those who bring upon themselves such red hot coals by daring to deny the Resurrection of the Divine Redeemer, Who offered Himself up to the Father in Spirit and in Truth on the wood of the Holy Cross out of obedience to and love for Him--and out of love for each one of us so that we make have the chance to die in a state of Sanctifying Grace as Catholics and to enjoy an unending Easter Sunday of glory in Paradise.
Saint Paul tells us:
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Heb. 10: 31)
It is one thing for a human being to sin and then to seek out the ineffable Mercy of the Divine Redeemer in the Sacred Tribunal of Penance. It is quite another to deny openly articles contained in the Deposit of Faith. Those of us who are repentant sinners need to be mindful of falling into the hands of the living God while we make reparation for our sins and plead with Our Lady to pray for us "nunc et in hora mortis nostrae." Those who die without repenting of their blasphemies and heresies have much to fear, which is why we should pray for them most fervently. Their fate, objectively speaking without for one moment judging their subjective culpability, could indeed be most fearful.
To wit, Father Joseph Foley, then a Vincentian priest at Saint John's University, Jamaica, Queens, New York, said around 1982 in a Novus Ordo Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel, that "As we know, Jesus was wrong" when He said the following, as recorded in the Gospel according to Saint Luke:
So you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand. 32 Amen, I say to you, this generation shall not pass away, till all things be fulfilled (Lk. 21-32.)
I related this story to a then priest-friend of mine. His very cogent response was this: "On the Last Day, at the General Judgment of the Living and the Dead, I want to be the man on line after Father Foley."
Those who seek to propagate lies about Our Lord, whether they produce "documentaries" and/or feature-length motion pictures to do so or whether they do so under the aegis of the counterfeit church of conciliarism, ought to reflect on Saint Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter ten, verse thirty-one. Our Lady stands ready to intercede them if they repent of their crimes. She will not, however, look benignly on those who tell lies about her Divine Son, no less claim that her own body was not Assumed body and soul in to Heaven. Lies are from the master of lies and the prince of darkness. We must pray for those who propagate lies about Our Lord and Our Lord and the Holy Catholic Faith. We must also oppose these lies with all of the strength and vigor that Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces, she can send us, especially by praying her Most Holy Rosary with fervor and attention.
Saint Dominic openly fought the heresy of Albingensianism with the weapon that Our Lady gave him, namely, her Most Holy Rosary. We must fight the errors and heresies of Modernity in the world and Modernism in the conciliar church with that same weapon, hoping and praying that the wiles of the adversary are defeated in the depths of our own hearts, consecrated as they must be to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, so that we may know God as He as revealed Himself exclusively through the Catholic Church more fully, love God more purely, and serve Him with all of our hearts, minds, bodies, souls, and strength until the day we die.
As Catholics enrolled in the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and consecrated totally to her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, may it be our privilege to persevere in states of Sanctifying Grace until the moment of our deaths, permitting us to face the King of Kings Who Rose from the dead on Easter Sunday to say the following words to us:
Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Mt. 25: 34)
Viva Cristo Rey!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Jude, pray for us.
Saint John the Beloved, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Saint Dominic Savio, pray for us.
Saint Scholastica, pray for us.
Saint Benedict, pray for us.
Saint Anthony of Padua, pray for us.
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Saint Bonaventure, pray for us.
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, pray for us.
Saint Francis Xavier, pray for us.
Saint Peter Damian, pray for us.
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Monica, pray for us.
Saint Agatha, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint Cecilia, pray for us.
Saint John Mary Vianney, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.
Saint Isaac Jogues, pray for us.
Saint Rene Goupil, pray for us.
Saint John Lalonde, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel Lalemont, pray for us.
Saint Noel Chabanel, pray for us.
Saint Charles Garnier, pray for us.
Saint Anthony Daniel, pray for us.
Saint John DeBrebeuf, pray for us.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, pray for us.
Saint Dominic, pray for us.
Saint Hyacinth, pray for us.
Saint Basil, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Sebastian, pray for us.
Saint Tarcisius, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Gerard Majella, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Saint Genevieve, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us
Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us.
Saint Rita of Cascia, pray for us.
Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.
Venerable Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.
Father Miguel Augustin Pro, pray for us.
Francisco Marto, pray for us.
Jacinta Marto, pray for us.
Juan Diego, pray for us.
The Longer Version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII, 1888
O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
Verse: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
Response: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
Verse: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
Response: As we have hoped in Thee.
Verse: O Lord hear my prayer.
Response: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Verse: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls.